LONDON — A university student with an interest in weapons and extremism has been found guilty of planting a home-made bomb on a busy London subway train.
Damon Smith, 20, faces years in jail after a jury found him guilty Wednesday of building an explosive device at home using a 2-pound ($2.58) clock bought from a supermarket. Smith had Googled an al-Qaida article entitled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom."
He left a knapsack filled with explosives and ball bearings on the subway train in October 2016 while on his way to university. Passengers reported the abandoned bag and gave it to a driver, who noticed wires coming out of the bag and called authorities.
The device failed to explode.
Smith, who has a form of autism, had a fascination with guns and explosives. When searching his south London home, officers found a blank-firing pistol, a BB gun, a knife and a knuckleduster. The computing student had watched explosions videos on YouTube. A picture of Smith recovered on a laptop was labeled "2016 an Islamic State fighter."
A former altar boy, Smith confessed to an interest in Islam but denied being an extremist. He claimed he left the device on the subway as a prank.
Smith's lawyer told the jury that his client was no "hate-filled jihadi." He denied possession of an explosive substance with intent, but admitted the lesser offence of making a bomb hoax.
The jury rejected his explanation. Sentencing was adjourned until May 26 to allow for further psychiatric reports and to assess Smith's risk to the public.
Sophie Berman, The Associated Press