Copeland had been a member of the British National Party and then the National Socialist Movement. In Aprl 1999 he started a series of nail-bomb attacks on ethnic groups and the gay community:
- 17 April in Electric Avenue, Brixton, target at the Black coummunity, injuring 50 people
- 24 April in Brick Lane in the East End, targeted at the Bangladeshi community, injuring 13 people
- 30 April at the Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street, targeted at the gay community, killing 3 people and injuring 129.
Copeland was identified through CCTV footage of Brixton, and arrested on the evening of the Admiral Duncan bombing. He immediately confessed to the bombings. At his trial, he attempted to plead guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but was convicted of murder and given six concurrent life sentences. It has been ruled that he must serve at least 50 years.
The 17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign commemorates the dates of the three bombings.