Film and TV

Gripping Netflix doc reveals how far-right terrorist behind tragic London gay bar bombing was finally caught

Josh Milton May 13, 2021
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Neo-Nazi behind Admiral Duncan bombing was a 'banal worthless man'

The documentary charts the devastation David Copeland enacted. (Netflix)

The first trailer for Nail Bomber: Manhunt, the Netflix documentary about the string of nail bombings in London 20 years ago, has dropped.

On 30 April 1999, a crudely made but deadly nail bomb ripped through the Admiral Duncan, a historic queer bar in Soho. Killing three people and wounding at least 70.

For a city already on edge following two prior nail bombings in Brixton and Brick Lane, the atrocity left some of London’s most vulnerable communities shaken.

Now more than 21 years on since the attacks carried out by far-right extremist David Copeland, filmmakers from Expectation Media are diving deep into how a 22-year-old engineer sought to start a race war.

Speaking to law enforcement officials, community leaders, journalists and former members and misfits of white nationalist groups, executive producer and showrunner Colin Barr explores how one man’s hatred of difference led to more than 100 Londoners being injured.

Copeland was lost in the extreme right-wing ideology of the British National Party and the National Socialist Movement. Fuelled by a hatred of difference, he targeted Brixton, Brick Lane and Old Compton Street, hubs for the Black, Asian and LGBT+ communities, respectively.

Filmmakers spoke to an undercover informant for the 71-minute-long documentary who became a crucial lifeline for the authorities finally pinning Copeland down.

Spending a decade within white supremacist, neo-Nazi groups gathering intelligence, Arthur reveals the extent of their hatred and how their anger only needed a “match” to be ignited.

“I knew we needed to stop him,” he says in the trailer.

Witnesses recall the “beauty” and bustle of the days when the bombs shuddered through the streets in the trailer. The sense of “helplessness” of those waking up to crumbled buildings, downed trees and blackened buildings.

“It was like a war scene,” one witness said, as police officers vowed to not “let him get away with” the killings.

The documentary, directed by Daniel Vernon, even features chilling interview records of Copeland and investigators as well as archival footage of the devastation dealt by the jerry-rigged bombs no larger than a shoebox.

Nail Bomber: Manhunt will be released on Netflix on 26 May.

Related topics: Admiral Duncan, netflix

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