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Parsons Green bomb accused said he was trained ‘to kill’ by Islamic State

Media student Ahmed Hassan used his college prize to buy the key ingredient for a bomb on Amazon.

Parsons Green incident
Parsons Green incident

The teenage asylum seeker behind the Parsons Green Tube bomb told British authorities he was trained “to kill” by Islamic State (IS), a court heard.

Iraqi Ahmed Hassan, 18, is accused of packing shrapnel into a plastic bucket containing 400g of explosives then leaving it to go off on a timer at the west London station during rush hour on September 15 last year.

There were 93 commuters on board when the District Line carriage turned into a “furnace engulfed in flames”, leaving many with serious burns or crushed in the stampede.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan told jurors it was just “a matter of luck” that the bomb did not fully detonate and people were not killed.

Hassan had arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry via the Channel Tunnel in October 2015.

In January 2016, he claimed asylum, saying he was in “fear of Islamic State” because of what happened to him in his home country.

Ahmed Hassan denies the charges (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Asked by Home Office officials if he ever had any training with IS, he said: “They trained us on how to kill. It was all religious-based.”

He said he was recruited on his own and trained with 1,000 people until Iraqi soldiers came into IS territory and told everyone to go.

He denied he had been sent to Europe to work for IS, the court heard.

At any point, should he have wanted to, he could have stopped the timer. Prosecutor Alison Morgan

Jurors were told that while in the care of Barnado’s charity, a member of staff who spoke Arabic caught him listening to a “call to arms” song with lyrics along the lines of: “We are coming with you to the slaughter… in your home/country”.

He was also observed watching a video on his phone showing people in a truck wearing balaclavas, holding machine guns and waving the IS flag, jurors heard.

In June last year, the Brooklands College media pupil was awarded “student of the year”.

But during the summer holidays, he used his £20 Amazon voucher prize to buy £15.99 of hydrogen peroxide, a key component of the bomb, the court heard.

In early September 2017, Hassan allegedly seized a “window of opportunity” to prepare the device while his foster parents were on holiday in Blackpool.

To distract attention from himself, he got the hydrogen peroxide delivered to a friend’s address in Thornton Heath, jurors were told.

A bucket on fire in the carriage after the blast (Sylvain Pennec/PA)

The day before he set off from his home in Sunbury, Surrey, he bought metal items for shrapnel from Asda and Aldi in Feltham.

The court heard Hassan had packed the bomb with 2.2kg of screwdrivers, knives and nails to cause “maximum carnage”.

On September 15, he left his home shortly before 7am and took the train from Sunbury to Wimbledon, carrying his bomb past schoolchildren and commuters, jurors heard.

He spent 13 minutes in the station toilet setting the timer before boarding the District Line carrying the bomb inside a Lidl bag.

He got off at Putney Bridge empty-handed, one stop before Parsons Green.

Ms Morgan told jurors: “At any point, should he have wanted to, he could have stopped the timer. He could have pulled the wires out of the device. He could have stopped the detonation.

“The CCTV footage from inside the carriage shows that at no stage did the defendant reach inside the bag to do anything.”

Passenger Jelena Semenjuk had noticed a bag on the floor and a man fitting the description of Hassan before she heard a “loud bang” and noticed her coat was on fire, the court heard.

She suffered burns to her legs, hands and face, causing her eyebrows and lashes to be singed off, the court heard.

Aimee Colville saw “shards of glass flying through the air and then flames”.

Then she could “smell herself burning and saw her hair was on fire”.

Stephen Nash noticed a “blinding light and the feeling that he was in a furnace engulfed in flames”, the court was told.

Hassan searched the BBC website for news of the bombing as he fled to Dover after changing into a Chelsea shirt.

When he was arrested at the Kent port, he had £2,320 in cash and admitted to police that he was responsible for the device.

An expert concluded there were several reasons why the bomb only partially exploded.

They included the initiator coming loose when it was transported or poor construction, the court heard.

Hassan denies attempted murder and using the chemical compound TATP to cause an explosion that was likely to endanger life on September 15 last year.

The trial, which is due to go on for two weeks, was adjourned until Thursday.

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph