News 26 May 2017

‘Prank’ train bomber jailed for 15 years

26 May 2017

20-year-old student Damon Smith has been sentenced for 15 years after planting a make-shift bomb on a London Underground train last October. 

Then aged 19, Smith, who has an autistic spectrum disorder left his rucksack containing the homemade device packed with explosives and ball-bearing shrapnel on the Jubilee Line train. The bomb did not detonate, and after being arrested by counter- terrorism officers, Smith claimed the bomb was meant to be a Halloween joke. A search at his home also found him to be in possession of a BB gun, knuckleduster and a blank-firing self-loading pistol.

Although his lawyer told in court that Smith was no “hate-filled jihadi” the device was built with a £2 alarm clock, and with the help of al Qaeda article titled ‘Make a Bomb In The Kitchen Of Your Mom’.

Judge Richard Marks QC said on the offence that although Smith was not motivated by terrorist, he was a dangerous offender.

“I am influenced by your history of preoccupation with weapons and bombs as well as by your condition which makes it difficult for you… to understand and fully appreciate the very serious potential consequences of your actions.” 

The Judge also made comment on Tuesdays horrific attack in Manchester, saying
 Smith’s actions came at a time of heightened fear of terrorism, “an all too timely reminder of which were the events in Manchester”.

Speaking on the sentencing, Damon’s mother said he was “just a vulnerable little boy who needs help, not prison.. He just made a smoke bomb and the prank went wrong, and now he’s paying for it”.

The 20 year old student smiled in the dock as he was sentenced at Old Bailey to 15 years in a young offenders’ institution with an extended period of five years on licence.