'I'm shooting': attempted tube bomber tests his new gun at home

Posted by The King Slayer 1 year ago in News
Story Continues Below

A weapons-obsessed student who made a bomb at the home he shared with his mother faces a lengthy jail term for trying to blow up a London tube train. Damon Smith had been interested in bombs and explosions since the age of 10 and researched how to build them using ISIS propaganda magazines he found online. The 20-year-old even took a selfie with Paris attacker Abdelhamid Abaaoud in the background when the killer's picture was shown on TV. In his police interview, an excited-looking Smith told detectives he left the bomb on the train 'as a prank' after realising he had 'two hours to kill before his next maths lesson'. Smith smirked after his arrest and throughout his trial, but jurors were told this was due to his Asperger's Syndrome. At an early court hearing, his mother Antonitza Smith stood up in the public gallery and shouted out in a bid to defend her son, who was described as still 'tied to her apron strings'. She said he 'didn't know what he was doing' and told him she loved him Former altar boy Smith made his own bomb using a Christmas tree light, sparklers and a thermos flash packed with ball bearings. He left his device in an Adidas holdall on a Jubilee Line Tube train at North Greenwich Tube station - then headed off for his morning lecture. The device failed to go off and the driver took it into his cab thinking it was lost property before realising it was a bomb and could go off at any time. Smith was arrested after CCTV footage of him planting the bag from the train was linked to footage of him leaving the station. The student, who was 19 at the time, claimed the device had been a prank and that he had only planted it to cause delays and see if it would make the news. The student said he just wanted to cause 'a bit of smoke' but had put the ball bearings in to make the device look authentic. He denied possession of explosives with intent to endanger life and cause serious injury, but was convicted by a jury following a week-long trial at the Old Bailey after less than an hour's deliberations. The would-be bomber looked stunned as the jury's verdict was read out but did not speak. Smith, who grew up in Newton Abbot, Devon, did not give evidence at his trial but told a pyschiatrist he had been fascinated in bombs since childhood. He had moved to London with his mother to study computer forensics at London Metropolitan University just a few weeks before planting the device. Smith said he made his first replica pipe bomb aged 14 after reading the Anarchist's Cook Book online. He is a judo black belt and an avid poker player and had won £500 from an online game on the morning he planted the bomb. A Dr Ian Cummings said in a psychiatric report: 'He recalled watching the Boston Bombings and downloading the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire and visited some Islamic websites. 'He said at the time he didn't think it was an issue - he thought it was just an interest.' Of the bomb plot, he said: 'He said he wanted to make a smoke bomb and had no expectation that it might cause harm - he admitted he had used ball bearings but more to give an authentic look than to cause harm.' On the morning of 20 October last year Smith boarded a Jubilee Line train at Surrey Quays with the device in a bag and then changed at Southwark to go in the opposite direction. He primed the timer mechanism on the device on the train by inserting batteries into the clock and then left the bag on the train between Southwark and London Bridge. Two members of the public spotted it and alerted the driver at North Greenwich station. But the driver thought it was lost property and took it with him into his cab - it was only on double checking that he noticed the wires protruding from the back of the clock. Both the train and platform at North Greenwich were evacuated and the device was then made safe by a cutting wire. Had the device detonated as planned, it would have gone off just as passengers were leaving the platform. Later that night, Smith began making Google searches to try and find news of his bomb.

Click to View or Post Comments Hide Comments