Liverpool explosion: Couple who lived with terror suspect glad 'he didn't kill anyone else'

'The one thing that I suppose to be thankful for is that he didn't kill anyone else,' Elizabeth Hitchcott said

A Christian couple who had previously lived with the man who died after he detonated an explosive device in a taxi outside the Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Sunday have said they are thankful he did not kill anyone else.

Police have named 32-year-old Emad Al Swealmeen as the person killed in the blast which happened shortly before 11am on Remembrance Sunday.

Elizabeth and Malcolm Hitchcott, a Christian couple who live in Liverpool, took Al Swealmeen into their home in 2017.

"He was a very quiet fellow... but what he did say was usually very deep" - Malcolm Hitchcott says Al Swealmeen had converted to Christianity and was very interested in his faith

ITV News understands Al Swealmeen was an asylum seeker from Syria.

Mrs Hitchcott described the terrorist attack as a "waste of a life", but was glad that no-one else was killed in the blast, which saw taxi driver David Perry miraculously escape from the taxi without any serious injuries.

"What a waste of a life. But the one thing I suppose to be thankful for is that he did not kill anyone else," she told ITV News.

The couple described Al Swealmeen as an “artistic” individual who had recently taken a cake decorating course and was obsessed with motor racing. He had changed his name to Enzo Almeni after Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the motorcar company, a young man who regularly went go-karting in Liverpool.

Malcolm Hitchcott with Emad Al Swealmeen. Credit: ITV News

Her husband Malcolm Hitchcott went on to describe the closeness he felt to Al Swealmeen, saying they lived "cheek by jowl" when he stayed with them at their home in the Aigburth district of Liverpool.

Mr Hitchcott said "he was a very quiet fellow" who converted to Christianity and was baptised and confirmed in Liverpool cathedral, having become disillusioned with Islam. Mr and Mrs Hitchcott said Al Swealmeen was “sold out on Jesus” and was a diligent Bible student who helped with housework.

"I mean he lived here for eight months, and we were living cheek by jowl. There was never any suggestion of anything amiss," he told ITV News.

"I feel shocked at the moment - I don't know how I will feel tomorrow".

'We were living cheek by jowl,' Malcolm Hitchcott said

Mr Hitchcott added that Al Swealmeen was sectioned and spent around six months in a "mental institution" after being involved in an incident in the centre of town which "involved a bridge and a knife."

In response to the Liverpool terrorist attack, the government raised the UK terrorism threat level to severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Malcolm Hitchcott says Al Swealmeen was sectioned following an incident with "a bridge and a knife"

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

After the threat level was raised Boris Johnson urged the public to be "vigilant."