Police 'didn't want' pre-bomb video footage
Published: 06 Dec 2011 07:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Dec 2011 07:43 GMT+01:00
Swedish police weren't interested in a shop owner's offer of a month's worth of surveillance camera footage taken in the weeks before Taimour Abdulwahab blew himself up in central Stockholm last December.
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The footage has since been erased.
“I asked them if they were interested in it and they said no,” Naresh Lakhwani, owner of the Step-In Watch Center on Drottinggatan, told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.
Lakhwani's shop sits across from the spot on Bryggargatan where Abdulwahab's explosive device detonated, killing him and leaving Stockholm holiday shoppers in shock.
In a sequence of footage taken from Lakhwani's cameras, a man who could be Abdulwahab can be seen turning down Bryggargatan. While the explosion itself isn't captured on film, it does show how people are thrown back by the blast.
When police arrived on the scene, Lakhwani said he had footage which could be useful for the investigation.
Nevertheless, it took police 48 hours to retrieve the surveillance camera footage.
In addition, police told Lakhwani they were only interested in film taken in the hour before and after the explosion.
Surprised at the response from police, Lakhwani explained his cameras had captured round-the-clock footage for “at least a month” prior to the blast.
“I said, 'you can take all the equipment, because this really belongs to the public, it's something we can all benefit from'. They said they had the information they needed, that's it,” Lakhwani told SvD.
The video captured in the weeks leading up the bombing was later automatically erased from the hard drive where it was recorded to make room for new footage.
Terror experts told the newspaper that terrorists often carry out reconnaissance of the areas where they plan attacks and that the footage refused by Swedish police could have contained key evidence to determine whether or not Abdulwahab may have had an accomplice.
“I'm at a loss for words,” the expert told SvD.
“It's amateurish of the police to not collect the material that exists.”
Another terror expert was also critical of how Swedish police handled the situation.
“This shows that the Swedish police can't handle investigations of exceptional events,” the person told the newspaper.