Post memories: Dagenham Christmas Day shooting charges, Thames View chemical explosion, Scrattons Farm residents ‘stranded’ by A13
- Credit: Archant
The stories that made the news 60, 40 and 20 years ago...
A Dagenham man was facing four charges after three men and a boy were shot outside a house in the early hours of Christmas Day.
The court heard the men was seen waving a loaded revolver in a bedroom where two children were sleeping minutes before the shooting.
The man pleaded not guilty to charges of wounding with intent to murder.
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Elsewhere, a furniture company clerk from Chadwell Heath was attacked and robbed of £1,700 wages.
The victim said a special security device prevented a further £4,000 from being taken.
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The 22-year-old and the company's storekeeper were ambushed outside their Bow premises while walking back from the bank.
Meanwhile, vapour baths could be included in Dagenham Council's plans for a covered-in swimming pool.
The parks committee found that vapour bath facilities were widely used in three neighbouring towns.
In other news, six garden sheds in two Dagenham roads were ransacked on one night, with several tools including an electric drill stolen.
It was the explosion that started Barking's biggest peacetime evacuation.
More than 7,000 people fled from their homes on the Thames View and Scrattons Farm estates as a pall of poisonous fumes belched from the ruins of a burning chemical depot.
Twelve firefighters were taken to hospital after three blasts rocked homes for miles around and tore apart the Womersley Boome Chemical store in River Road.
Another man was bowled over by the first explosion as he stood watching the fire that started it all.
Chemicals including cyanide and explosive substances were stored inside the building.
Post photographer Malcolm Craig, who was living on the Thames View estate, captured a dramatic picture of the big explosion from only 35yards away.
The blast sent corrugated iron flying, with one piece narrowly missing Malcolm and ripping the blue light of a fire brigade car.
Half an hour after the building blew up, a mass exodus was under way as evacuees were ferried to temporary rest centres.
Angry residents on Scrattons Farm said they found it nearly impossible to get off their estate in peak hour since the new A13 opened.
They claimed they could not get on to the road towards Barking due to a massive bottleneck at the Renwick Road traffic
lights - and had warned the council this would happen months earlier.
One resident blamed the new road being too efficient, as the traffic used to be broken up by a series of traffic lights and a roundabout from the M25.
Another said she had to allow 45 minutes just to get to her workplace in River Road.
The Highways Agency said it met with residents during construction of the road and would investigate the matter further ahead of its next meeting.
Meanwhile, prime minister Tony Blair hinted he may take up the Post's invitation to visit Barking and Dagenham, after learning that no Labour leader had been to the borough for more than 30 years.