Damon Smith guilty of planting Tube bomb


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.

Damon Smith

The defendant lived with his mother in south-east London

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 had 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.

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

‘Halloween prank’

On 20 October last year, Smith – 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.

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.

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

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

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”.

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”.

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