Liverpool explosion: UK terror threat level raised to severe following blast outside hospital

Chloe Keedy reports on what we know so far about the Liverpool hospital explosion

The terrorism threat level has increased to severe in the UK, meaning an attack is “highly likely,” following the explosion of a taxi outside a Liverpool hospital on Sunday.

Police have declared the blast from a car outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital shortly before 11am on Remembrance Sunday a terrorist attack but said the motive is “yet to be understood.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the threat level has been raised because there have been two attacks in the space of a month - the last being the stabbing of MP Sir David Amess.

"What we saw yesterday is the second incident in a month"

On Monday Boris Johnson urged the public to be “vigilant” after the threat level was raised.

The Prime Minister told a Downing Street press conference: “As you know those gradations – substantial, severe – they bump around and what we’re really saying to the public as a result of what happened in Liverpool is that everybody’s got to be vigilant.”

As investigations into the attack continue, police confirmed on Monday they had carried out a controlled explosion of a device found in a property on Rutland Avenue which was the scene of a major police presence on Sunday evening.

What do we know so far?

Taxi driver David Perry arrived at Liverpool Women's Hospital shortly before 11am on Sunday and soon after his passenger detonated an explosive in the car.

Mr Perry escaped from the taxi without any serious injuries and has been hailed a hero for preventing the passenger from leaving the car.

The passenger died in the explosion and has not yet been identified.

Soon after the explosion police made several arrests in the Kensington area of Liverpool, with another arrest made on Monday morning.

Counter Terrorism Police North West said the men – aged 29, 26, 21 and 20 – were arrested under the Terrorism Act in connection with the incident.

Credit: PA

On Sunday afternoon a heavy police presence swept over Rutland Avenue, the road where Mr Perry picked up his passenger from.

Houses on the road were evacuated while police officers with the word 'Negotiator' were seen nearby.

Police said they recovered “significant items" were recovered from a property on Rutland Avenue as well from another house on Sutcliffe Street.

Video obtained by ITV News from an eyewitness shows a man in a green jacket being handcuffed by police near the Sutcliffe Street address yesterday.

Police activity in Sutcliffe Street in the Kensington area of Liverpool. Credit: PA

A second video shows a fourth man being arrested on Sutcliffe Street this morning, where he was put into a police car.

Mr Perry has since been released from hospital and his wife has said in a Facebook post he is doing "ok but is extremely sore."

Rachel Perry added he was "lucky to be alive" and she thanked all doctors and police who had helped them.

Boris Johnson also praised Mr Perry earlier on Monday for displaying "incredible presence of mind and bravery."

Speaking at a news conference the Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North West Russ Jackson said the passenger appears to have made an improvised explosive device.

“It is not clear what the motivation for this incident is," Mr Jackson said.

'It does look as though the taxi driver in question did behave with incredible presence of mind and bravery'

“The reason why he then took it to the Women’s Hospital is unknown, as is the reason for its sudden explosion."

He added that he had spoken to the taxi driver, but at the time he was still shaken and injured.

He said police had not yet got a full account of the incident from the driver.

Mr Jackson said he could not confirm reports the driver had locked the doors of the taxi before the explosion, adding it appeared to have been an “unremarkable journey” to the hospital.

Watch video of the arrest of two men in Sutcliffe Street

Mr Jackson said the arrested men were believed to be “associates” of the taxi passenger. Officers are looking at his associates, his telephone records and purchases he may have made.

He said police had “attributed” the taxi passenger to both the addresses where officers were currently searching but were uncertain which address he lived at.

“We have got significant items in one of the addresses,” Mr Jackson said.

CCTV shows the moment the explosion goes off inside the car

This video contains distressing images

In a CCTV clip of the incident, a black taxi is seen approaching the building before a blast sends debris flying and thick smoke billowing from the car.

A man can be seen escaping out of the driver car door while people nearby rush to the scene.

MP Oliver Dowden hailed the driver as "a complete hero" who had "put the lives of others" before himself.

One woman, with a house on Rutland Avenue, told ITV News the police operation had begun at 3pm on Sunday. She said police told her they wanted "everyone out" and she was given five minutes to do so.

Heavily armed police were present in the Kensington area of Liverpool on Sunday evening

"I feel all bunged up inside," she told ITV News, adding she was "in shock".

A convoy of seven unmarked vehicles – three vans and four cars – entered the cordon early on Monday morning. Several cars, appearing to contain armed police, departed a few hours later.

Sections of Sutcliffe Street and Boaler Street remain cordoned off, with a heavy police presence at the scene as inquiries continue.

Officers wearing vests marked Negotiator entered the cordon earlier on Sunday afternoon.

Locals said police arrived from about 1pm as officers went on to guard a terraced property as the immediate surrounding area was cordoned off.

Police officers at an address in Rutland Avenue in Sefton Park Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

A police cordon remained in place around Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Monday. People were being allowed in and out of the hospital but officers could be seen at the entrance.

Police were stopping cars for checks as they entered the car park.

An investigator wearing a white forensics suit and carrying a jerry can and funnel was seen outside the hospital.

Two fire engines were parked in the car park near a blue forensics tent.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital said visiting access had been restricted “until further notice”. Patients were diverted to other hospitals where possible during most of Sunday.

In a statement, the hospital said: “Anyone with appointments at the hospital will notice an increased security and police presence on site.”

'A cowardly and heinous attack'

Community and faith leaders in Liverpool have condemned the terror incident.

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson described it as a "tragic incident" and urged people to "remain calm and allow the police to do their job."She thanked emergency services and council staff for helping residents impacted by the ongoing investigation.

The Liverpool Mosque Islamic Institute issued a joint statement on behalf of mosques and Muslim organisations across the city.

"The car explosion at Liverpool Women's Hospital has shocked us all," it read.

"This is a cowardly and heinous attack which we condemn in the strongest possible terms."

It continued: "We pray for all our communities, and appeal for calm and vigilance at this time".