Who is London nail bomber David Copeland and where is he now?

He’s in the same prison as Lee Rigby’s killer and the Manchester Arena bomber’s brother


In 1999, David Copeland carried out three bomb attacks in London. Now, he’s in prison for life and his crimes are the subject of new Netflix documentary film Nail Bomber: Manhunt.

The bombings took place over three weekends in April that year, and resulted in the deaths of three people and injured 140 others. Copeland targeted Black, Bangladeshi and gay communities and was found after CCTV footage of his first attack was released and an undercover member of far-right political groups identified him as being in the images.

Here’s everything we know about 1999 London nail bombings perpetrator David Copeland, and where he is now.

David Copeland, London, 1999, nail bombings, Nail Bomber: Manhunt, Netflix

via Netflix

David Copeland was born in Houslow, and was 22 when he carried out the London nail bombings

David Copeland was born in May 1976 in Hounslow, and raised in Hampshire. When he left school he had a number of short-term jobs, before getting one working alongside his father, who was a mechanical engineer, working on the Jubilee Line extension rail project in London. When asked about his son, Steven Copeland said: “He did very well at school. He was fairly intelligent. He was just a normal boy, into football and mini-rugby. He was not moody or withdrawn.”

David Copeland was a member of far-right political groups, including the BNP. In 1999 he carried out three bombings, across three successive weekends, where he targeted black, Bangladeshi and LGBT communities. His homemade nail bombs were detonated in Brixton, on Brick Lane, and at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, killing three and injuring 140 people. In his police interviews he admitted to “hating” gay people and being a Nazi.

London, 1999, nail bombings, Nail Bomber: Manhunt, Netflix

via Netflix

When he was found as being the perpetrator of the 1999 London nail bombings, police raided Copeland’s home and found it was a shrine to his Neo-Nazi beliefs. He had also searched online how to make a bomb and during questioning made a full confession explaining his reasons for carrying out the attacks.

He said: “My main intent was to spread fear, resentment and hatred throughout this country. My aim was political. It was to cause a racial war in this country. There’d be a backlash from the ethnic minorities, then all the white people will go out and vote BNP.”

According to a report at the time, Copeland had spent over £1,500 on fireworks to create the devices. His final bomb, which left people with life-changing injuries, gave victims infections as the nails encased within had been saturated with rat urine and poo from Copeland’s pets.

David Copeland is now serving six life sentences in Category-A prison, HMP Belmarsh

David Copeland, London, 1999, nail bombings, Nail Bomber: Manhunt, Netflix, now, prison

via Netflix

On May 2nd 1999, police charged 22-year-old David Copeland with murder. He was convicted of murder in June 2000 and given six life sentences with a minimum sentence of 30 years. At the time, a judge said it would probably never be safe for him to be released. In 2007, due to new legislation, Copeland’s sentence was increased to a minimum of 50 years.

Copeland was initially taken to the high security Broadmoor Hospital but was then transferred to Belmarsh prison in 2004. Right now alongside Copeland in Belmarsh prison are: Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebolajo, Wayne Couzens who is accused of abducting and murdering Sarah Everard, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Hashem Abedi who planned the Manchester Arena bombings that his brother carried out.

In June 2014, Copeland attacked a fellow prisoner with a weapon made from razor blades. He was found guilty of wounding with intent and another three years was added to his sentence.

Copeland is now 45-years-old and has reportedly “converted to Islam” in prison “in a bid to find forgiveness and get a second chance.” An armed robber, who Copeland befriended in prison, told the Sun that the bomber “prays every day and sees practising as a Muslim as a way of getting forgiveness and changing. But he still has a twisted mind.”

David Copeland will not now be eligible for release until he is in his mid-70s and that is only if the parole board deems it safe to do so.

Nail Bomber: Manhunt is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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