Today We Remember Warrington

The 20th of March 1993 marked another dark and bloody day in the IRA's murder campaign. This time though they took their murderous intent to Warrington, England.

At 11.58 am the Samaritan's office in Merseyside received a call from a male caller with a heavy Irish accent he said that a bomb had been placed outside Boots, and in response to a request for clarification indicated that he was talking about the centre of Liverpool. The man also quoted an unrecognised codeword, different from the earlier one but again, in retrospect, bearing some resemblance to the one normally used by PIRA (IRA). He gave a 30-minute warning.

At 1225 two bombs exploded on Bridge Street, within approximately 90 metres of each other and one minute apart. One bomb exploded outside the McDonald's and Boots stores, the second exploded outside an Argos store. It was the run-up to Mothers Day and the area was filled with shoppers. When the first bomb exploded, it caused the shoppers to flee directly into the path of the second bomb. The two bombs had been placed inside cast-iron litter bins for the sake of causing as much shrapnel damage as possible.

Two children died that day. 3-year-old Johnathan Ball who died instantly, and 12-year-old Tim Parry who was gravely wounded in the attack. His life support machine was switched off on the 25th of March. Little Johnathan was out shopping with his babysitter for a mothers day card, Tim was out to buy a pair of Neville Southall football shorts because he had saved a penalty for the school football team.

54 people were injured in the attack, 4 seriously. 32-year-old Bronwen Vickers, the mother of two young daughters, had to have a leg amputated, and died just over a year later from cancer.

PIRA (IRA) issued the following statement

“Responsibility for the tragic and deeply regrettable death and injuries caused in Warrington yesterday lies squarely at the door of those in the British authorities who deliberately failed to act on precise and adequate warnings.”

A day later an IRA spokesman said that

“two precise warnings" had been given "in adequate time", one to the Samaritans and one to Merseyside Police.”