On Wednesday (10 December) Irish Republican Army (IRA) gunmen were still holding a middle aged couple hostage in a room in central London.
On Wednesday (10 December) Irish Republican Army (IRA) gunmen were still holding a middle aged couple hostage in a room in central London. The siege in Balcombe St., Marylebone began four days ago (6 December) when gunmen entered Mr. and Mrs. John Matthews' house to escape pursuing police whose car they had riddled with bullets.
During the day gunmen threw a police package they had earlier accepted out of the window.
A police spokesman said the gunmen took the action because police failed to meet quickly a request for more sandwiches and cigarettes.
The gunmen had spurned previous offers of food, possibly because the apartment was well stocked when the siege began.
Police said that the siege could go on until Christmas. The Head of the London Bomb Squad, Commander Roy Habershon, said the gunmen are used to living in a state of some stress and are unlikely to "cave in" quickly. They now believe there are four gunmen in the flat, not three as had previously been suggested. They also believe the man known as Michael Wilson is one of the gunmen. "Wilson" is listed as the most wanted man in Great Britain and is wanted in connection with the assassination of Ross McWhirter.
Meanwhile restaurants and hotels in central London are taking precautions in view of the recent spate of bombings. Several have installed sandbags and others have boarded up their windows.
SYNOPSIS: Balcombe Street in central London, where a group of Irish Republican Army gunmen were still holding a middle aged couple hostage on Wednesday. The siege began four days ago when the gunmen entered the house to escape pursuing police.
The police believe the siege could last until Christmas because the gunmen are used to living in a state of some stress. On Wednesday night the gunmen threw the first police package they had accepted out of the window. Police had failed to meet their request for more sandwiches and cigarettes.
The police believe one of the gunmen inside is the most wanted man in Britain. He's known as Michael Wilson and is thought to have been the assassin of Ross McWhirter.
Meanwhile, restaurants in the centre of London have been takin precautions against further IRA bombings. This is Walons, where two people died in a bombing.
Another restaurant, L'Opera have brought war time sandbags in to use again. The entrance to the restaurant looks like a bunker. It's not a very attractive sight for diners but at least they can eat in relative safety.
The Capital Hotel has chosen a similar form of protection. And Police have mounted a major antiterrorist operation to try and stop further bombings.