Damon Smith guilty of planting Tube bomb

Media captionCCTV captured the moment Damon Smith left the bomb on a busy Jubilee line train

A student has been found guilty of building a bomb and leaving it on a London Tube train.

Damon Smith built the device in the home he shared with his mother before packing it into a rucksack and leaving it on a Jubilee line train in October.

The 20-year-old had admitted perpetrating a bomb hoax but claimed he had only intended it to give off smoke and scare people.

But it contained ball-bearing shrapnel for “maximum damage”, jurors heard.

Had it worked, it would have exploded just as commuters were being ordered off the platform at North Greenwich station.

The Old Bailey was told Smith had an autistic spectrum disorder and a keen interest in guns, bombs and other weapons, which may have been a function of the condition.

His lawyer told the trial he was no “hate-filled jihadi” and never meant to harm anyone.

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The defendant lived with his mother in south-east London

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

The Met said he was not charged under the Terrorism Act because there was not enough evidence that his crime was politically motivated.

‘Halloween prank’

Former altar boy Smith built the device with a £2 clock from Tesco after Googling an al-Qaeda article on how to make a bomb.

On 20 October last year, the defendant – then aged 19 – left the rucksack containing the bomb on the train.

Passengers handed it to the driver who then realised as he was approaching the station it contained explosives.

Media captionPolice interview with Tube bomber Damon Smith

Smith then went to college and when he returned home that evening, checked the internet for news reports about what he had done.

When he was arrested, he admitted making the bomb, but said he had meant for it to have been a Halloween prank and that he had been inspired by someone on a YouTube video.

Jurors were told he had professed an interest in Islam as he felt it was “more true” than Christianity.

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Julia Quenzler

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Throughout the trial, Smith was seen smiling which jurors were told was part of his autism

They heard he had posed next to an image of the Brussels-born Islamic terrorist alleged to have masterminded the attacks in Paris in November 2015, but had denied being an extremist.

His lawyer, Richard Carey-Hughes QC, said there was “no evidence that he changed from clinging to his mother’s apron strings to a soldier of Islam and a would-be soldier”.

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Met Police

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The device contained ball bearings

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North Greenwich station was closed for several hours and Jubilee Line trains were disrupted

The court heard Smith had been interested in making bombs since the age of 10 and said it was “something to do when he was bored”.

He was also shown the Anarchist Cookbook at 14 by a friend.

During a search of his home in Rotherhithe, south London, officers found a shredded article on how to build a bomb and a “shopping list” of bomb materials was found on his iPad.

A blank firing pistol, a BB gun, a knife and knuckleduster were also discovered.

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Met Police

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Guns were found at Smith’s house

Cdr Dean Haydon, from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “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.”

Smith will be sentenced on 26 May.

Damon Smith guilty of planting Tube bomb

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