A Man Threatened to Blow Up Tottenham Court Road On Friday (Updated)

By Kat Hannaford on at

Alarming news has reached our ears about a man threatening to blow himself up near London's Tottenham Court Road, with Huffington Post's Stephen Hull tweeting from the scene that a "man came into logistics office strapped up with 4 canisters threatening to blow himself up," and according to a woman who he said was the target of the attack, the man has four hostages, and was angry at having "failed a training course," and that he "wanted his money back."

Various offices in the area have been evacuated by the police, who have cordoned the area off, as you can see in various twitpics from the likes of @PaulVale and @ISayLookAgain.

It's unclear whether all of this is happening in a Starbucks by Tottenham Court Road, but Hull tweeted at 12:23pm that the suspect "walked into Starbucks at junction of capper street," and "computers [are] being thrown from top floor of building, police moving people back even further."

A brief video shot by Hull, of the Advantage logistics company employee Abby Baafi who witnessed the man storming her office with the gas canisters, can be viewed below. According to her video, she recognised him "because he was one of our previous customers," adding that he's "not quite stable," and "he just turned up, strapped up in gasoline cylinders...basically he threatened to blow up the office. He said he doesn't care about his life; he doesn't care about anything."

Baafi managed to escape the office by pleading she was three months' pregnant, despite the man (whose name appears to be Michael Grigg, if I heard correctly) requesting her by name when he entered their office.

Video below shot by Hull, showing a policeman stating the situation could be going on for some time.

Photo below from @benturner83, showing papers being thrown out of Advantage's office windows.

Updated 14:10: Camden Metropolitan Police's Twitter account, @MPSCamden, is tweeting updates from what's now being called a "siege":

"We were called at 11.59 today to an office building on #TCR Tottenham Court Road to reports of a man causing a disturbance."

"The man in #TCR Tottenham Court Road is throwing items from a 5th floor window. A 100 metre cordon is in place."

"A 300m cordon has been put in place and a negotiator is on scene. We advise people to keep clear of the area due to congestion. #TCR"

Updated 14:15: The reliable HuffPo executive editor Stephen Hull has continued tweeting updates from the scene, describing how some people have reported "of shots being fired," though he hadn't heard anything. Meanwhile, the female employee he filmed on his phone earlier, Abby Baafi, has claimed there are no more hostages in possession of the suspect, who is believed to be from Hemel Hempstead, and that police are "talking about 'taking him out,'" though in what sense, I'm not sure.

Updated 14:26: Given Huffington Post's office building has been evacuated on Capper Street, it's not surprising its staff are all tweeting from the street. Universities and Education Reporter lucy Sheriff tweeted overhearing the police saying the suspect, believed to be called Michael Green, not Griggs, as I thought originally, "has enough explosives to blow up whole building."

Meanwhile, it seems many of the area's workers whose offices were evacuated have descended upon one pub, as twitpic'd by Melanie Seasons:

Updated 15:14: The suspect has been arrested, according to the Camden Metropolitan Police, and a full building search is underway.

This story is developing...

Top image credit: @PaulVale