'Inspirational' 7/7 survivor hailed

A woman who became a 2012 Paralympics hopeful after losing both her legs in the 7/7 attacks was hailed as “truly inspirational” by a coroner today.

A woman who became a 2012 Paralympics hopeful after losing both her legs in the 7/7 attacks was hailed as “truly inspirational” by a coroner today.

Martine Wright, 38, described how she lost three-quarters of her blood in the bombing on a Circle Line train at Aldgate station in London in 2005.

Giving evidence to the inquests into the deaths of the 52 victims of the atrocities, she spoke of her gratitude for the off-duty police officer who saved her life in the stricken Tube carriage.

Ms Wright was a little late leaving her home in Crouch End, north London, to go to her job as a marketing manager on the morning of July 7, 2005.

She normally took the sixth carriage of the eastbound Circle Line train at Moorgate.

But that day the train had just pulled into the station when she got to the platform, so she got into the second carriage, where suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer detonated his bomb at 8.50am.

Ms Wright, who was sitting just 6ft from the terrorist, described the moment of the blast.

“I recall a white light in front of my eyes and a feeling of being thrown from side to side, but I don’t remember a loud bang or anything like that,” she said.

“Everything was black, everything just looked very dark.”

Her legs were covered in debris but she could not free them, the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London was told.

One of her newly-bought trainers had been blown off and she could see the bloodied shoe resting on a piece of twisted metal just above her eye level.

Ms Wright recalled hearing another severely wounded passenger, Kira Mason, calling out in pain in the darkened carriage.

She said: “I could just hear her under the debris and hear her voice. All she just kept shouting was, ’my arm, my arm’.”

Up to 15 minutes after the blast, a member of London Underground staff reached the carriage and talked to the travellers through a hole blasted in the side, the inquests heard.

Ms Wright said: “Obviously we were all screaming and I think at that point I just kept saying, ’my name is Martine Wright, tell my family I’m okay’.”

The London Underground official kept saying “help will come, help will come”, but he moved on without stopping to assist the injured and dying, she said.

Ms Wright was comforted and given first aid by off-duty policewoman Elizabeth Kenworthy, who was travelling in another carriage on the bombed train.

Ms Kenworthy held her hand, moistened her lips with water and gave her a belt to apply as a tourniquet to her left leg to stem the bleeding.

“I know in my head that she saved my life,” Ms Wright said.

Ms Wright was one of the last people to be pulled alive from the Aldgate train and spent nine months undergoing major operations at the Royal London Hospital and learning to walk again at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton.

The survivor, who gave evidence today under her married name Martine Wiltshire, is now a member of the Great Britain women’s sitting volleyball team and hopes to compete at the 2012 London Paralympics.

Coroner Lady Justice Hallett told her: “Your story is truly inspirational - the triumph of human spirit over dreadful adversity.

“I wish you every success in the Paralympics – it’s very strange for you, when we got the decision on the Wednesday, to be competing in 2012.”

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