Woman describes hair going on fire at Tube bombing as counter-terrorism officer recounts 'rolling fireball'

A woman who boarded the Tube moments before a bomb went off at Parsons Green has described flames passing over her head.

Aimee Colville, who got on the District Line train in London seconds before the explosion, gave evidence at the trial of Ahmed Hassan, 18, at the UK's Old Bailey.

Describing what happened at around 8.20am on September 15 last year, she said: "I heard a loud bang, like a cracking bang."

She added: "Then the next thing, there was a bit of a shudder and then a wall of glass came across and the gentleman who was standing in front of me, his head went forward when I saw the glass coming in front of me."

Miss Colville explained: "After he moved forward I don't know if I physically got myself down or if I blacked out, but at that point I noticed a flame come over my right side.

"It came over my side and that is when I smelt the burning."

She added: "That morning I had curled my hair and I had put hairspray in my hair so when the flames came over me my hair immediately caught fire."

The court heard Miss Colville suffered from superficial injuries, but has ongoing back problems linked to stress after the attack.

Also in court, a retired counter-terrorism officer described a "rolling fireball" coming towards him following the explosion.

Alex Beavan boarded the District Line train at Wimbledon at 8.10am on September 15 last year.

He told the Old Bailey that the doors were just closing at the Parsons Green stop when the bomb went off.

Mr Beavan said: "I was standing by the doors. The doors were closing. I was facing down towards the interior towards the back of the train.

"I heard a huge popping sound. Looking towards the direction of the sound, I saw a rolling fireball coming over the ceiling at the back of the train.

"When I saw the rolling fireball, wall to wall, slowly coming up the ceiling ... At that point I was looking towards the fireball and looking at the people.

"Everything goes in slow motion. There was a woman. I could see her realise what was happening and she began screaming and some men were shouting 'Run'. I was aware there had been some sort of explosion."

Mr Beavan told jurors he got off the train and realised there was only one exit stairway so decided to "take cover" behind a wall, thinking there might be a second wave of the attack.

Describing the scene, he said: "There was chaos and I was thinking there is going to be a second attack so I ran across the platform."

Mr Beavan said he looked for any casualties and called 999.

Glancing into the train he saw debris and abandoned bags and purses as well as a large pot which was on fire.

It is alleged that Hassan left the bomb on the train before getting off a stop before Parsons Green.

He denies attempted murder and using the chemical compound TATP to cause an explosion that was likely to endanger life.

- PA

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