Homemade bomb made by ISIS-inspired jihadi would have killed passengers in London Tube Underground
This is the homemade bomb allegedly made by an ISIS-inspired jihadi that could have killed and maimed Tube passengers had it gone off, a court heard.
Passengers on the London Underground were saved from a shrapnel bomb attack when the initiator in the improvised device failed, jurors were told.
Pictures of the device were shown to jurors, revealing a battery and a wall clock with a nail driven through the clock face at number two.
Student Damon Smith allegedly left the device on a Jubilee line train at North Greenwich station in South East London before heading to his morning lecture.
Smith, 20, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was obsessed with weapons and had pictures of Islamic State fighters on his computer, the Old Bailey was told.
He allegedly stood in front of the TV to take a photo of himself with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Islamic terrorist killed in a raid after the Paris attacks in 2015.
Smith, of Bermondsey, claims the device he planted was only a smoke bomb – and he used ball bearings just to make it look ‘real’ for a prank.
Forensic investigators found some of the tape wrapped round the device was singed – indicating it may have partially functioned, the court was told.
Images of the device were shown to jurors, revealing a battery and a wall clock with a nail driven through the clock face at number two.
The minute hand would come into contact at the ‘ten past’ position and complete the electrical circuit.
The initiator – the component designed to set off the main charge – comprised a modified fairy light with the glass bulb broken coated with the accelerant power from matches.
The main charge was made up of 152.8g of the explosive material found in sparklers contained in a silver metal flask. A pound of ball bearings had been stuck to the device using PVA glue.
Had it detonated the ball bearings and shards of metal from the flask would have been projected through the train, causing serious injury to anyone it came into contact with.
Explosives expert Lorna Philp said that the device was viable but the initiator may not have been powerful enough to ignite the powder from the sparklers.
‘It would have been capable of setting off the material contained in this devices – namely the sparkler charge. But sparklers have quite a high ignition temperature.
‘Anyone who has ever used a sparkler knows that you might have to hold it in the flame for quite a while before it ignites.
‘It’s my opinion that this flash of flame [from the initiator] was not sufficient to cause the sparkler composition to ignite in this device.’
The court heard that the chemical scraped from the sparklers was still in lumps, but had it been ground up and more tightly packed it would have been much more explosive.
‘Had it ignited in this type of metal container it can be made to explode,’ said Ms Philp.
‘The metal fragments would have the potential to cause injury to persons and damage to property in close proximity to the device.’
She described the ball bearings as an ‘an attempt to increase the damage that this device would cause if this device had functioned’.
The court heard that sparkler composition does not really produce smoke and is not usually used in any smoke producing device.
‘The ball bearings can only be there to cause additional fragments and cause injury and damage – you would not find them in a smoke producing device.’
‘Smoke producing devices will generally have a hole or a vent to allow the smoke to escape when the explosive substance is burning.
‘There was no vent within the sealed metal flask in this device.’
Had it functioned, she said the metal fragments would have been projected at least tens of meters, reaching the end of the carriage and potentially causing injury to any persons on board.
On the morning of October 20, Smith caught the train from Surrey Quays – an Overground station close to his home in Rotherhithe – at around 10.30am with the device in a black Adidas holdall.
Source: Daily Mail