A teenage asylum-seeker who built a ‘Mother of Satan’ nail bomb in the bedroom of his foster home before trying to blow up a tube train is facing a lengthy jail term after he was convicted of attempted murder today.
Ahmed Hassan, 18, tried to kill 93 people by setting off a ‘bucket bomb’ at Parsons Green station in west London last September. Luckily the device failed to properly detonate, but still left 51 passengers with serious burns.
Hassan had left his native Iraq and travelled through Turkey, Italy and France before getting into the UK on the back of the lorry coming through the Channel Tunnel.
After being looked after in a charity-run shelter, he was taken in by foster parents Penelope and Ronald Jones in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey and sent to a local college.
But while his foster parents were away on holiday last summer, he studied YouTube videos on how to make explosives before building a bomb from household objects including Tupperware boxes, a vase and 2.2kg of knives, screwdrivers and nails.
Ahmed Hassan, 18, planted a homemade nail bomb on a packed District Line carriage on September 15 last year. It failed to properly detonate but still injured 51 passengers
The bucket bomb, wrapped in a Lidl cool bag, was cooked up at Hassan’s foster home
Hassan was found to have tried to kill 93 people. Around 50 people suffered burns in the blast
The ‘Mother of Satan’ bomb was packed with nails, screws and drill tips to maximise injuries
Many passengers were badly burned, but it was only a ‘matter of luck’ that scores were not killed, prosecutors have said.
The disturbing case will raise questions of authorities after it emerged Hassan told immigration officials he had been ‘trained to kill’ by ISIS, and said to a teacher it was his ‘duty to hate Britain’.
Barnardo’s worker Youseff Habibi told jurors he caught Hassan listening to an Arabic song on YouTube along the lines of ‘coming to the slaughter in your own home’ when he was living in a children’s home in Surrey.
He later claimed he had made up the story about having been in an ISIS training camp in a bid to get asylum in Britain, but a jury rejected his claims that the bomb plot was a ‘fantasy’.
The Old Bailey has heard Hassan built his fearsome bomb in his bedroom during the school holidays and used an Amazon gift token he won for being Student of the Year at Brooklands Sixth Form College in Weybridge, Surrey.
Video footage showed him carrying out experiments with a mobile phone in a back garden.
On September 15 last year, Hassan took his homemade device, wrapped in a Lidl cool bag, from his home in Sunbury to Wimbledon before leaving it on a District Line train.
The device’s detonator went off, sending a fireball through the carriage, but it did not ignite the explosive.
Commuters ran from the train after a bright flash and flames swept through one carriage
Hassan crisscrossed London and the South East, disposing of his phone and changing his clothes, as he made his way to the Port of Dover after the bomb went off
Hassan had been taken in by foster parents Penelope and Ronald Jones after coming to the UK as a child refugee. The couple were not in court today to hear the verdicts
The couple were awarded MBEs for fostering at least 268 people over three decades – but, speaking shortly after the bombing, friends said they were considering stopping fostering
Describing the moment it went off, prosecutor Alison Morgan: ‘The partial explosion caused a large fireball. Some in the carriage were caught by the flames and sustained significant burns, many ran in fear and panic.
‘They were fortunate – had the device fully detonated, it is inevitable that serious injury and significant damage would have been caused within the carriage. Those in close proximity to the device may well have been killed.’
Meanwhile Hassan had changed his clothes, donning a Chelsea football shirt, and was crisscrossing the South East on four different trains on his way to the port of Dover.
An alert border police officer spotted and challenged him before he could board a ferry to the continent.
He was found to have researched what happened to his bomb by looking up Parsons Green on the BBC website on his phone as he made his way to Dover. Radical material was found at his home.
Still images show the moment the detonator went off and the scene of devastation was left behind after the device partially detonated on the train
These household knives were also found inside it after Hassan viewed a YouTube bomb video
The kitchen timer used as an initiator mechanism, in addition to a battery and a halogen bulb
A memory stick contained eight nasheeds- Arabic chants – which included the lines: ‘O State of Islam attack the creed of kufr [infidels], and crush the soldiers’ gang.
‘Send torrents of terror, pull out slaughter, break the shackles, wage a battle that will make a child’s hair go grey, scorch the bodies with a blazing fire, a sight never imagined before.’
His foster parents, Mr and Mrs Jones, knew nothing of his plans and were said to have been devastated by his actions.
In the days after the bombing, friends said the couple were considering giving up fostering.
The kind-hearted couple were awarded have MBEs in 2010 for fostering at least 268 people over three decades, many of whom came from some of the world’s poorest countries