Category: Mass Murder
Crime: During a 13-day bombing campaign in April 1999, detonated bombs he packed with more than 1,500 nails each in and around London targeting blacks and gays. In all, three people were killed and 129 were injured. He is currently serving life imprisonment in a mental hospital.
Biography: Copeland was born on May 15, 1976 in London, England and as he grew up, he was considered small for his age. This caused him some resentment and created tensions between him and his classmates. He was given the nickname, 'Mr. Angry'. Around the age of 12, he began having violent and sadistic dreams of himself as a reincarnated Nazi SS officer who kept women as slaves to do his bidding. In 1992, he left school to work as an apprentice engineer, but soon turned to petty crimes, drug abuse and heavy drinking. In May 1997, he joined a far right, anti-immigration political party called the British National Party. It was around that time that he learned to make bombs using fireworks and alarm clocks as timers. He gleaned much of his information by downloading terrorist information from the internet. In 1998, Copeland had a rift with the BNP and left to join a smaller, more violent group that espoused Neo Nazi views, called the National Socialist Movement. His first bomb was set on April 17, 1999 just outside of a busy supermarket hidden in a sports bag. The police were called because the market workers were suspicious, but they kept moving the bag before the police arrived. It detonated, injuring 50 people, many seriously because of the 4-inch nails that Copeland had packed the bomb in to serve as shrapnel. Six days later, he planted his second bomb outside of another market, this time it detonated in a less populous area and only 13 people were injured in the blast. Copeland's third and final bomb was planted in a crowded pub in the heart of London's 'gay village'. Three people were killed in the blast with another 79 injured, many of whom had to have limbs amputated because of the severity of their injuries. Police identified Copeland based on closed circuit video from businesses in the area around his second bombing. They began publicizing his identity on the night before the final bomb was placed and arrested him later that evening, but after the bomb had gone off. Copeland admitted carrying out the bombings as soon as he was brought into custody. Prior to trial, five independent psychiatrists diagnosed Copeland as paranoid schizophrenic with a personality disorder, however, his plea of insanity was thrown out by the prosecution and he was subsequently sentenced to six consecutive life sentences.