Where is David Copeland Now? | The Story of the 1999 London Nail Bombings

david copeland

What did David Copeland do?

David Copeland was a neo-Nazi militant who was responsible for the London nail bombings in 1999. The attacks were aimed at the Black, Bengali and LGBT communities. The attacks took place over three successive weekends in April 1999, when homemade nail bombs were detonated in Brixton in South London, Brick Lane, in the East End and at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in the West End. Each bomb contained up to 1,500 four inch nails, that were left in holdalls in public spaces. The bombs killed three people and injured 140 people. 


How was Copeland caught?

On the 19th April, after the Brixton attack, a neo-Nazi terrorist organisation known as Combat 18 claimed responsibility for the atrocities. When the Brick Lane bombing happened a week later, police believed there was a racist undertone to the attacks. 

The police believed a gay bar in the Soho area called the Yard could be the next location of an attack, so they put out a warning to the public. CCTV of the Brixton attack was then put out into the public domain, with an image of the suspected bomber on it. This prompted Copeland to bring forward his next planned attack to the Friday evening, when he bombed the Admiral Duncan in Soho. A colleague of Copeland’s recognised him from the CCTV footage and alerted police just over an hour before the third attack. Two hours after the bombing, the neo-Nazi white wolves organisation claimed responsibility for the attack.

Once police obtained Copeland’s address, he was arrested the same night of the Soho bombings, and he admitted to all three bombings as soon as he saw the police on his doorstep. 


What happened at the trial?

On the 2nd May, 1999, the Metropolitan Police Anti Terrorist Branch charged David Copeland with murder. 

Copeland was then assessed by psychiatrists at Broadmoor and diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Whether he was able to take responsibility for his actions became a matter of contention, and at the Old Bailey, Copeland’s plea of guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility was not accepted by prosecutors or the jury. 

On the 30th June, Copeland was convicted of three counts of murder and was given six life sentences. The Judge thought it was unlikely Copeland would ever be fit to be released from custody. 

In March, 2007, the High Court decided Copeland should remain in prison for at least fifty years, which ruled out his possible release in 2049, when he would be 73 years of age. He appealed, but the court upheld the ruling. 


Where is David Copeland now?

In June, 2014, Copeland attacked a fellow prisoner at HM Prison Belmarsh with an improvised weapon made from razor blades, which was attached to a toothbrush handle. In October, 2015, he pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and was sentenced to three more years in prison. 

Copeland is now serving his sentence at HMP Frankland in Durham, and he is 47 years of age. He has converted to Islam in a so-called attempt to seek “forgiveness” for his crimes. 

There is a feature-length documentary on Netflix about Copeland and the nail bomb attacks, titled Nail Bomber: Manhunt.


What do you think of David Copeland’s case? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

1 thought on “Where is David Copeland Now? | The Story of the 1999 London Nail Bombings”

  1. Hi, my uncle is David Copeland from Tallahassee, Florida and his description matches that almost exactly. Call me if we can work together on getting to the bottom of what the fuck is up. His daughter Ashley and I were both born April of 1999. He had an older son named Tyler and adopted two other boys. They all sure loved fishing and owning boats and we all went to St. George together every summer TO LIGHT FIRE WORKS FFS.

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