'Bored' student planted bomb on London Tube

DANGEROUS ACT: Although he claimed this was a prank, the bomb he left on the train was clearly designed to cause horrific injuries. - PROSECUTOR SUE HEMMING, on Damon Smith (above), who planted a homemade bomb on a London Underground train.
DANGEROUS ACT: Although he claimed this was a prank, the bomb he left on the train was clearly designed to cause horrific injuries. - PROSECUTOR SUE HEMMING, on Damon Smith (above), who planted a homemade bomb on a London Underground train. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • A British student has been convicted of planting a homemade bomb on a London Underground train, with a psychiatric report saying he had a form of autism and made the device because "he was bored".

The device failed to detonate but prosecutors said the actions of Damon Smith, 20, on Oct 20 last year were "incredibly dangerous".

Smith constructed the device in the kitchen of his mother's home after reading a magazine published by Al-Qaeda. He packed it into his rucksack and left it on a carriage on the Jubilee Line at Southwark station on his way to college.

Passengers noticed the bag and alerted the driver, who initially thought it was lost property before spotting wires and raising the alarm.

A jury at London's Old Bailey court on Wednesday convicted Smith of possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury.

DANGEROUS ACT

Although he claimed this was a prank, the bomb he left on the train was clearly designed to cause horrific injuries.

PROSECUTOR SUE HEMMING, on Damon Smith (pictured), who planted a homemade bomb on a London Underground train.

A psychiatric report read out in his defence confirmed that he was on the autistic spectrum. It found he had been interested in bomb- making since the age of 10, saying it was "something to do when he was bored".

But prosecutor Sue Hemming said his actions were "incredibly dangerous" and the consequences had the device worked did not bear thinking about. "Although he claimed this was a prank, the bomb he left on the train was clearly designed to cause horrific injuries."

Smith, who was 19 at the time, was tracked down though closed- circuit TV footage. A police search of his south London home revealed a fixation with guns and explosives, including a picture of Smith with guns entitled "2016 an Islamic State fighter" found on his laptop.

His lawyer, Mr Richard Carey- Hughes, said Smith was not a "hate-filled jihadi" and that if he had wanted to make an effective bomb, he would not have made such a "shoddy, ineffective device".

Smith, who faces several years in jail, will be sentenced on May 26.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2017, with the headline ''Bored' student planted bomb on London Tube'. Print Edition | Subscribe