Teenage asylum seeker found guilty of attempted murder over Parsons Green bomb
Ahmed Hassan wanted to avenge the death of his father in Iraq and was ‘disappointed’ when the bomb only partly detonated in a huge fireball.
A “devious” teenager is facing years in jail for the Parsons Green Tube bombing which injured 51 passengers.
Iraqi asylum seeker Ahmed Hassan, 18, plotted to cause carnage in central London under the nose of the anti-terrorism Prevent scheme.
He secretly made 400g of “Mother of Satan” explosives while his foster parents were away and packed the device with 2.2kg of screwdrivers, knives, nuts and bolts.
The Old Bailey heard he wanted to avenge the death of his father in Iraq and was “disappointed” when the bomb only partly detonated in a huge fireball.
But Hassan said he only wanted to create a fire to fulfil a “fugitive fantasy” of being chased around Europe by Interpol.
It can now be reported he told a psychologist he was inspired by Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible action films.
A jury deliberated for just over four hours to find Hassan guilty of attempted murder on what Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said was “overwhelming evidence”.
The court had heard Hassan told Home Office officials he was trained by Islamic State “to kill” after he arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry in 2015.
He was referred by Barnardo’s and Surrey social services to Prevent but kept his murderous plans a secret.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “I describe Hassan as an intelligent and articulate individual that is devious and cunning in equal measures.
“On the one hand he was appearing to engage with the programme but he kept secret what he was planning and plotting.”
Mr Haydon said it was “good fortune” that the bomb did not fully detonate and kill and injure many passengers.
A review of Hassan’s dealings with Prevent is under way, he said.
Security Minister Ben Wallace said there were “lessons to be learned”, but also commended police, the CPS and security services.
He said: “This case is a bleak reminder of the devastating consequences of radicalisation.”
The court had heard Hassan was taken in by foster parents Penny and Ron Jones MBE, and excelled at Brooklands College in Weybridge where he studied media and photography.
But the “shy and polite” young man harboured anger at Britain for bombing Iraq even as he pursued his ambition to be the new Sir David Attenborough.
His college mentor contacted Prevent after he said it was his “duty to hate Britain” and received a WhatsApp message about an IS donation.
Katie Cable became concerned again just two months before the bombing when he texted her: “But your country continues to bomb my people.”
And in early September he told her: “It’s almost better to be back in Iraq. It’s better to die because you have heaven.”
Mr and Mrs Jones, who did not give evidence, also contacted social services amid “significant concerns” for his mental health during that summer.
The couple were on holiday in Blackpool when Hassan assembled the ingredients for homemade explosives in his bedroom in Sunbury, Surrey.
He used his student of the year award of a £20 Amazon voucher to buy one of the key chemicals online.
On the morning of September 15 last year, he left his home and caught a train to Wimbledon carrying his bomb inside a Lidl bag.
He was captured on CCTV going into the station toilets, where he set the bomb to blow in 15 minutes, before boarding the District line.
He got off the train one stop before the bomb partially exploded on the floor of the carriage at Parsons Green.
Moments before, 93 commuters were reading newspapers and sipping cups of coffee.
They ducked for cover and scrambled to escape when a ball of fire rolled down the carriage.
Twenty-three passengers suffered burns, with some describing their hair catching fire and their clothes melting in the blast.
And 28 more suffered cracked ribs and other crush injuries in the stampede to get out of the platform via a narrow stairway.
Meanwhile, Hassan destroyed his phone and changed into a Chelsea shirt as he fled London with more than £2,000 in cash but was picked up by police at the Port of Dover the next day.
Giving evidence about why he planted the bomb, he said: “It became kind of a fantasy in my head.”
Hassan told jurors he lied about having contact with IS to get asylum in Britain and have the chance of a “better life”.
The defendant, who hung his head in the dock, will be sentenced next week.