You Probably Didn’t Hear About This White Guy Who Made A Homemade Bomb

“The metal fragments would have the potential to cause injury to persons and damage to property in close proximity to the device.”

A student planted a homemade bomb filled with ball-bearings on the London Underground, causing a major security alert last October.

Passengers were saved from the shrapnel bomb attack when the initiator in the improvised device failed, a court heard this week.

Damon Smith, 20, admitted building a bomb and leaving it on a Tube train but said it was for a prank. He allegedly left the device on a train before heading to his morning lecture. He primed the timer mechanism on the device by inserting batteries into the clock.

The driver, Adrian Clarke, at North Greenwich station was alerted by two members of the public after they spotted the bag. Clarke initially thought it was lost property but later realized it contained two wires coming out of the back of a clock. Both the train and platform at North Greenwich were evacuated and the device was then made safe by a cutting wire. The court was further told that had the device detonated as planned, it would have gone off just as passengers were leaving the platform.


It was also revealed that Smith had an interest in guns and gambling and was inspired by Islamic State fighters. Police also found a carbon dioxide-powered revolver designed to fire ball bearings and a sheath knife which had also featured in YouTube videos. Shredded paper which when reconstructed was identified as being an article from an al-Qaida online publication was also recovered by the police.

“The ball bearings were located in the sealed flask and so were not visible to anyone who looked into the rucksack ... we suggest that the defendant’s explanation for why the ball bearings were included in the device simply doesn’t add up and make sense,” prosecutor Jonathan Rees said.

“It would have been capable of setting off the material contained in these devices — namely the sparkler charge. But sparklers have quite a high ignition temperature. Anyone who has ever used a sparkler knows that you might have to hold it in the flame for quite a while before it ignites,” said Lorna Philp, an explosives expert.

She further added, “It's my opinion that this flash of flame [from the initiator] was not sufficient to cause the sparkler composition to ignite in this device. Had it ignited in this type of metal container it can be made to explode. The metal fragments would have the potential to cause injury to persons and damage to property in close proximity to the device.”


He was arrested the day after the incident took place.

Smith is on trial at the Old Bailey and is charged with possession of an explosive substance with intent, contrary to the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

Smith denies possession of an explosive substance with intention to endanger life and cause serious injury. The trial continues.

It is important to note had he been a non-white man this story would have been treated very differently. It is likely he would have inevitably been labeled a "thug" or "terrorist."




Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters

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