LONDON (AP) — A university student with an interest in weapons and extremism was accused Wednesday of planting a homemade bomb on a London subway train with the intention of causing carnage.
Prosecutors say Damon Smith left a knapsack filled with explosives and ball bearings on a London Underground train in October. The abandoned bag was reported by passengers to the driver, who noticed it contained wires poking out of a clock. It did not explode.
Prosecutor Jonathan Rees told jurors at London’s Central Criminal Court that Smith “built an improvised explosive device which he intended would explode and endanger the lives of those traveling on that Tube train or, at the very least, cause serious damage to the train itself.”
Rees said the 20-year-old computer science student, who has a form of autism, had an interest in guns and explosives, and had searched online for Islamic State group material.
Smith told police he was brought up Christian but thought Islam was “more true,” though he denied being an extremist.
Material recovered from his home included photos of Smith posing with guns, including one on a laptop labeled “2016 an Islamic State fighter.” Police also found shredded paper with instructions from an al-Qaida article entitled “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom.”
Smith claims the device was only meant to spew smoke. He denies possessing an explosive substance but has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of perpetrating a bomb hoax.