Student convicted of terrorism after planting explosive device on London Underground
- Credit: MPS
A student who caused evacuations on the London Underground with an explosive device he left on a Jubilee line train has been convicted after being arrested by armed officers from the Met’s Counter-Terrorism Command.
Damon Smith was found guilty at the Old Bailey today of unlawfully and maliciously making or possessing an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury.
He left a rucksack with an low-explosive device in the front carriage of a train, which was spotted after the train left Canary Wharf heading to Stratford on October 20.
The train had to be evacuated at the next stop, Greenwich North, as well as the station itself.
Specialist police officers arrived and made the device safe before it was taken away for forensic examination.
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The device was found to contain 153 grams of low-explosive material and shrapnel including ball bearings.
Smith was quickly identified as a suspect from CCTV footage on the tube network, seen with a holdall at 10.30am that morning at Surrey Quays where he caught a train to Canada Water before switching to the Jubilee.
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He had left the rucksack on the train then got off, with at least 10 passengers in the carriage. One passenger spotted the rucksack just past Canary Wharf and reported it to the driver, who noticed wires and a clock and radioed ahead.
The train was stopped at North Greenwich and immediately evacuated. The device was later found to have been set to go off at 11am—just 30 minutes after Smith was recorded on CCTV at Surrey Quays.
The 20-year-old, meanwhile, made his way to university, but was arrested the next day under the Terrorism Act by armed police in the Holloway Road in north London.
Officers searching his home in Rotherhithe, close to Surrey Quays, found a blank firing pistol, a BB gun, a knife and knuckleduster. Shredded documents on the premises were carefully reconstructed by a forensic scientist which were found to give bomb-making instructions. A shopping list of bomb materials was recovered from his iPad. Components to make a low-explosive device were also found at the house.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said after today’s conviction: “Smith claimed throughout this investigation that his actions were meant as a harmless prank and the object was nothing more than a smoke bomb.
“It’s hard to believe that leaving an explosive device on a tube train on a weekday morning can be construed as anything but an attempt to endanger life.”
Smith is to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on a date to be confirmed.
The public is being urged to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the confidential anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321, or in emergency to dial 999.