A judge in the U.K. sentenced 20-year-old Damon Smith to 15 years in prison for planting a bomb on a London subway train, but opined that the perpetrator had not been motivated by terrorism.
Via the London Times:
A former altar boy has been sentenced to 15 years’ detention years for planting a home-made bomb on a busy Tube train. Damon Smith built the device at home with a £2 clock from Tesco after finding an online al-Qaeda article entitled “Make A Bomb In The Kitchen Of Your Mom.” He put it in a rucksack and left it on a Jubilee Line train in October 2016,
… as shown in the CCTV still below.
Smith, 20, claimed it was a Halloween prank but was found guilty of possession of an explosive substance with intent after a trial at the Old Bailey in London. The autistic defendant smiled in the dock as Judge Richard Marks, QC, sentenced him to 15 years in a young offenders institution with an extended period of five years on license.
The judge said that although Smith had an interest in Islam, he was not motivated by terrorism.
Had the bomb exploded, carnage was assured.
Smith packed a rucksack with explosives and ball-bearing shrapnel on the morning of October 20 last year. The college student was caught on CCTV as he traveled on the Jubilee Line, casually flicking through a text book before getting off and leaving the bomb on the floor, timed to go off within minutes. At least ten passengers were in the carriage at the time and some of them spotted the abandoned rucksack and alerted the driver.
The driver … spotted wires coming out of the bag and raised the alarm as he pulled into the station. Had Smith’s bomb worked, it would have exploded just as commuters were being ordered off the platform.
In court, the defendant’s lawyer said his client was
… “sorry” for the fear and disturbance he caused and had “learned his lesson.”
“We asked him this morning ‘Would you make another bomb?’ and he said ‘No, never, I don’t want to be in jail’.” …
Smith told police he was interested in Islam but denied being an extremist, even though he had posed next to an image of the Brussels-born Islamic terrorist alleged to have masterminded the attacks in Paris in November 2015.
Smith, who has a longstanding fascination with firearms and explosives, based his defense on his claim, confirmed in a court-ordered psychiatric assessment, that he is autistic. He admitted making and placing the bomb but said the episode was just a hoax.
A jury rejected that explanation and convicted him of the more serious charge of “possession of an explosive substance with intent.”