In a chilling reminder of the attack on Soho eight years ago, the Metropolitan police have confirmed that nails were packed with gas cannisters found in a car bomb this morning.
The vehicle was crashed and then abandoned on Haymarket in central London, part of the route for tomorrow’s London Pride parade.
The BBC reports that police were alerted by an ambulance crew who spotted smoke coming from the car.
There was concern that the entire Pride event, including performances in Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square, would have to be cancelled.
However, no explosives were discovered in the car, which was subjected to a controlled explosion.
It is in the process of being removed from Haymarket now. The area remains sealed off.
Pride organisers say that tomorrow’s events, including the parade, will go ahead as planned. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take part.
It is unclear who was responsible for the car bomb, if Haymarket was the intended target, or if the bomb was connected to the Pride parade.
London’s gay community has been targeted by bombing before.
David Copeland, now 30, terrorised London’s minority communities for thirteen days in the spring of 1999.
Bombs in Brixton and Brick Lane caused serious injuries.
The nail bomb he planted in gay pub the Admiral Duncan, in London’s Old Compton Street, killed three people and injured eighty.
Copeland was 22 when he carried out his 13-day hate campaign.
When he was captured, his lawyers tried to claim he was mentally ill and he was tried on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
He chose the first gay pub from an alphabetical list and on Friday 30th April 1999, his nail bomb ripped through the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho.
Andrea Dykes, 27, who was four months pregnant with her first child, died in the bomb, along with her friends, Nick Moore, 31, and John Light, 32.
They were having a drink in Soho before attending a West End musical.
Mr Light was to be the baby’s godfather. Andrea’s husband, Julian, was seriously injured.
Some of the wounded had limbs amputated.
Copeland’s attack on London’s gay community remains one of the darkest days in the city’s history.