Man found guilty of planting bomb on Jubilee line

20-year-old Damon Smith has been found guilty of making a bomb filled with ball bearings and leaving it on a Tube train.

Smith put the homemade device into a rucksack and left it on a Jubilee line train in October, with the explosive timed to detonate as commuters were leaving the North Greenwich station platform.

The 20-year-old had admitted planning a bomb hoax but claimed it was a prank.

According to reports, Smith built the device with shrapnel and a £2 clock from Tesco after Googling an al-Qaeda article on bomb-making.

The Old Bailey was told the student, who has an autistic spectrum disorder, had a keen interest in guns, bombs and other weapons, which may have been a function of the condition. The suspect’s lawyer told the trial he was no ‘hate-filled jihadi’ and had never meant to harm anyone.

However, the jury convicted him of making or possessing an explosive substance with intent to endanger life after two hours of deliberations.

Commander Dean Haydon, the head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "Throughout this investigation and subsequent trial, Smith claimed that his actions were meant as a harmless prank and that the object was nothing more than a smoke bomb.

"It is hard to believe that leaving what has been described as an improvised explosive device on a tube train, on a weekday morning, can be construed as anything but an attempt to endanger life. It is fortunate that the device failed to work and that no one was injured.

"At a time when the threat level remains at severe, I find it unlikely that anyone would consider his defence as an appropriate excuse for his actions.

"The jury rightly disagreed with him and I expect that Smith will now face a significant prison sentence."

Assistant Chief Constable Alun Thomas, head of BTP’s Specialist Operations, added: “Smith’s unattended bag was spotted by a passenger who brought it to the attention of staff, who in turn contacted police. This highlights the importance of being vigilant when travelling on the railway network, and reporting anything suspicious.

“British Transport Police, along with our partners at the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police, regularly train and prepare for incidents such as this and were able to respond swiftly with their specialist skills.

"It is very fortunate that in this incident the device failed to work, was safely contained, and no one was injured. We are pleased that the jury returned a guilty verdict and hope the sentence will demonstrate that actions like Smith’s have very serious consequences and are never ‘a harmless prank’.”

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