Even on a Tuesday night, Leicester Square tube station and the area around it were a hive of feverish activity. Bars, clubs and theatres vied for attention with bright neon signs and big bold lettering. Even in the tube station itself, posters tempted potential punters as they tried to fight past ticket gates. It was hot, even though it was November, thanks to the crowds, and noisy too, as people tried to have conversations that were louder than the ones next to them.
At 9.17 pm, a mobile phone, discarded discretely by the main entrance to the tube station, received a text. At the same time, two other phones, one located on the Northern Line's southbound platforms, and one located at the bottom of the Piccadilly Line escalators, also received texts.
All three then sent their own codes to the devices they were pressed against.
Each device exploded.
The tightly packed plastic explosives tore bricks apart and split metal and ceramics. They also sent people hurtling in all directions - including onto the electrified rails of the Northern Line, and causing people to fall and stumble on the escalators of the Piccadilly Line. The souls closest to the bombs were killed instantly - they were the lucky ones.
People screamed, out of fright, shock, and pain. Blood, and bits of bodies, were everywhere. The crowds, panicked by what had just happened, were trying to bolt in every direction out of the station, and people were crushed in the throngs. Smoke poured out of the station entrance, as every single emergency service vehicle within a five mile radius of Leicester Square was ordered to the scene.
It brought out the good in people - ordinary passers-by stopped to try and help the wounded. Shops and bars brought out water and chairs and anything of any use. It was carnage though, absolute carnage, and London was paralysed.