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Man who was found with pipe bomb in luggage at airport jailed for 18 years

Nadeem Muhammad, 43, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court after being found guilty following a trial earlier this month.

A man has been jailed for 18 years for possessing an explosive with intent to endanger life after a pipe bomb was found in his hand luggage at Manchester Airport.

Nadeem Muhammad, 43, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday after being found guilty following a trial earlier this month.

After sentencing, Judge Patrick Field QC criticised airport security for making a “wholly erroneous and potentially dangerous” conclusion that the bomb was not viable after it was seized by officers.

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Nadeem Muhammad was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

The court heard Muhammad, of Tinline Street, Bury, had been planning to board a Ryanair flight to Italy on January 30 when security officers uncovered the device, made of masking tape, batteries, the tube of a marker pen, pins and wires, in the zip lining of his small green suitcase. Muhammad claimed that he had never seen the device before and it had nothing to do with him.

Airport security initially believed the bomb was not viable and, after being questioned by counter terrorism officers, Muhammad, who was born in Pakistan but had an Italian passport, was released.

Judge Field said he had been “alarmed by some of the evidence in the case.” He said: “In these dangerous times it seems to me there’s no room for complacency. I express hope that security at the airport and policing at the airport will be subject to a review at the highest level.”

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The court heard Muhammad had been planning to board a Ryanair flight to Italy (Rui Vieira/PA)

The court had heard that airport staff swabbed the device, which was later found to contain nitroglycerin, but found no trace of explosive and terminal three security manager Deborah Jeffrey initially put it into her pocket.

Judge Field said: “It occurred to me and I’m sure to others listening to that evidence that by acting that way she put herself, her fellow employees and members of the public at risk.”

He said the situation was “compounded” by police who accepted the assurance that the device was not viable and missed an “early opportunity” to arrest Muhammad – who was allowed to board a flight to Italy five days later and another back to the UK before he was arrested on February 12.

Sentencing, Judge Field said Muhammad would “undoubtedly” have carried the bomb on to the plane or into the airport’s departure lounge where he would have detonated it.

He said: “If detonated in the confines of the cabin of a commercial aeroplane, this device could have caused not inconsiderable injury and damage to those close to the explosion and this then, on any view, is a particularly serious and grave offence.”

Muhammad was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment with an extension period of five years on licence.

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