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Bomb widow tells of anger and grief

PUBLISHED: 00:55 05 August 2005 | UPDATED: 06:03 02 March 2010

A GRIEVING Ipswich widow has today spoken publicly for the first time since her husband was killed in the London bombings.

Louise Gray, whose husband Richard died in the Aldgate blast, spoke of her anger in the days following the terror attacks and her gratitude to all those who have offered support.

A GRIEVING Ipswich widow has today spoken publicly for the first time since her husband was killed in the London bombings.

Louise Gray, whose husband Richard died in the Aldgate blast, spoke of her anger in the days following the terror attacks and her gratitude to all those who have offered support.

Richard Gray, of Irlam Road, Ipswich, was one of seven people who died when suicide bomber Shehzad Tanwer detonated explosives on a Circle Line train near Liverpool Street.

The 41-year-old was on his way to work as a tax manager in Pall Mall when terrorists attacked three tube trains almost simultaneously.

Mrs Gray said: "I was on a training session at the time and had a phone call from a friend who had seen the news. They asked if I had heard from Richard and if he was OK.

"I tried to contact him then but his mobile was going straight to voice mail and his office was saying he hadn't yet arrived.

"I went down to London on the Friday to meet Richard's brother who was at the hospital speaking to liaison and giving details. I think after I came and filled in all their forms it was then I started to think perhaps he had died but there were still unidentified people in hospital."

Mrs Gray then faced days of agony as she waited to hear news of Richard.

She added: "The waiting was the worst part. It was more than a week, about eight days.

"I think I had some information through and I thought, well I have lost him and then it was just the waiting to have him identified. I was then able to go down there and sit with him. It seemed like ages at the time but now it seems like it has gone so quick. It has been four weeks."

Mrs Gray, 33, then had to explain her husband's death to their two children Adam, 11, and Ruby, seven.

She added: "Adam has been very strong and Ruby has been tearful, mostly at night.

"I will be going back to London because I am going to go to see where he worked but I won't be going on the tube. Adam doesn't even want me to go on the train, I told him I was going by train and he burst into tears. He is very protective."

Despite knowing that Islamic fundamentalists were responsible for her husband's death, Mrs Gray accepts that extremists make up only a small number of the faith.

She added: "Towards the minority I am angry but I have friends from different countries, fabulous friends, and so did Richard and I know it is just a minority.

"Attacks on Islamic people anger me because you can't place everyone in the same box.

"Police should be stopping and searching everyone regardless of their race. We know that not every typical white English person is good. There is good and bad in everybody and all races."

Mrs Gray said terrorism in the capital had been a concern of hers since attacks in America in 2001 and she feels not enough was done to prevent the events of July 7.

She added: "After the twin towers we had discussed terrorism and I would rather Richard hadn't been working in London because obviously if anything was going to happen that would be where it would be. Richard was a 'that will never happen to me' person and he was going to live whatever happened. He liked the city.

"After 9/11 we were the next country. We should have expected something. There has not been enough security on the underground, if there was this wouldn't have happened.

"I don't know what can be done but I am sure all the people we have got in the government and the security services could have got together and thought of something."

Mrs Gray's main frustration now is that she will never see the bomber brought to justice.

"I hate the fact that the bomber died because he is gone and there is nothing I can do," she added.

"To say I would like to see him tried is a polite way to put it."

The words of support from friends and the public is acting as some comfort to Mrs Gray and she has welcomed The Evening Star's Ipswich Victims' Support Fund.

The appeal was launched in the week following the bombings as a means of the community showing their support for those affected.

It currently stands at about £5,400 which will be split between Richard Gray's family and the family of 21-year-old Richard Ellery, who also lost his life in the blasts.

Mrs Gray said she will put her share of the money into a fund for her children to help them later in life.

She added: "I think it is very nice of everybody to pay money into the fund and it does help that people are thinking about me. We have had so many cards and letters from people I don't even know and some from people Richard didn't know.

"I want to thank everyone, everyone has been so supportive. Without my family liaison officers I wouldn't be as far along as I am now.

"I also want to say a big thank you to Richard's company because along with the liaison ladies they have been fabulous. They have taken the family under their wing. At the moment they are making sure everything is OK financially and have sorted everything out so I haven't got the worry of it. They are not just his employees they are his friends."

Richard worked for FW Smith Riches and Co for five years and in London for eight or nine years.

He took accountancy exams in Oxford after taking A-Levels and O Levels at Chantry High School.

Mrs Gray said: "He was good with numbers. You could give him £100 and some how he would make it into £1,000."

Mr Gray had spent most of his life in Ipswich and moved to the town at the age of eight.

He met his wife in the town and they married 14 years ago at Ipswich Register Office.

Mrs Gray added: "He was just a wonderful loving person. He treated me like a queen and treated the children the same. We spent every weekend together apart from when he was playing hockey. The rest of the weekends we messed about, shared the house work and did normal family things."

The family enjoyed regular holidays together but only boarded a plane for the first time last October when they travelled to Egypt.

Mrs Gray added: "We went to Egypt last year and stayed in Cairo, Luxor and Sharm el-Sheikh.

"We had been back a week last year when they had the bombings further up the coast.

"There is a stretch of about a dozen hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh where we stayed and the hotels that were bombed in July were in that stretch.

"He had been trying since I married him to get me on a plane. I had never been on one before and last year I said let's just go.

"We saw the temples, the Valley of the Kings, the Pyramids and the Sphinx. I'm glad we did that now.

"When we were married Richard's Nan couldn't come down from Hull for the wedding and so we went up to stay with her for three days. Apart from that we never had a honeymoon so Egypt was like our honeymoon complete with the children."

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