On the eighth anniversary of the deadly London bombings, the mother of the sole New Zealand victim has spoken out about hurtful online conspiracy theories - including one implying that her daughter was a fake victim.
Shelley Mather, 26, was one of 52 people who died in the bombings which wreaked havoc on London's public transport system on July 7, 2005. A further 700 were injured.
As her family today prepares to remember the much-loved young Kiwi, her mother, Kathryn Gilkison, has revealed the hurt caused by a series of online theories claiming that the London bombings were a media-created fake.
Other theories on a website - which the Sunday Star-Times has chosen not to name - claim that photos featuring those who were injured and killed in the bombings, were in fact actors.
"It is like a form of bullying . . . just because you can sit there hidden, you can put whatever you want out there and spend all that time doing it," Gilkison told the Star-Times.
"They have pictures of the buses . . . saying it was a movie scene. . . what do they think actually happened to the people [killed and injured in the bombings]? They have obviously never had anything happen to anybody that they care about.
"Shame on these people. These are not rational beings. Maybe they are aliens trying to create disharmony on the planet. Now there's a theory."
Gilkison said she discovered the online postings by accident after searching the internet for any recent news relating to the London bombings in the build-up to today's anniversary.
She said she was "horrified" to see some of the postings.
She was aware that previous global tragedies - including the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America - had been hijacked by similar conspiracy theories.
"There is a whole industry fuelled by these clueless idiots, who anonymously write lies to counter what they call ‘lies'," Gilkison said.
"To call themselves ‘theorists' is a bit of a stretch for these people, as that would indicate some level of brain activity, such as reason."
Shelley Mather was reported missing shortly after the bombings.
On the day of the tragedy, she was travelling to work on the Piccadilly Line train when a bomb went off.
Concerned for their daughter's wellbeing, Shelley's parents flew to London in a bid to find her.
Gilkison said today her thoughts would be on her daughter as well as thinking of "everyone" who was killed or wounded in the London terror attacks.
"It is not any better any year," she said.
"If anything, the loss becomes more evident each year as you grow older. You just have to accept how it is, really.
"The most important thing for us is all our family and holding Shelley in that place . . . we won't ever forget, other people might, but we won't."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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