A student living in Bermondsey has been locked up for fifteen years after building a bomb and leaving it on a Tube train.
Damon Joseph Smith, 20, of Abbeyfield Road, Bermondsey, was today, Friday, sentenced to fifteen years after being found guilty of making or possessing an explosive substance with intent to endanger life by a jury at the Old Bailey on May 3.
The autistic student, who originally lived in Newton Abbot, Devon, but moved to Bermondsey with his mother in May last year, had built the bomb at home with a £2 Tesco clock.
He claimed he had only intended it to give off smoke and scare people as a “prank”.
On October 20 last year, Smith, then nineteen, entered Surrey Quays Station shortly after 10.30am carrying a holdall.
He caught an Overground to Canada Water before switching to a westbound Jubilee Line train and then got off at Southwark before boarding a train in the direction he had just come from.
Smith got off the Tube train at London Bridge, leaving a rucksack – which had been concealed in the holdall – behind.
There were at least ten passengers in the carriage. Only nineteen minutes had passed since he first entered Surrey Quays.
A short time later, one of the passengers saw the abandoned bag and it was reported to the driver at Canary Wharf. The driver, having noticed wires and a clock, radioed ahead.
At approximately 11am, the train and North Greenwich Underground Station were evacuated; the device was later found to have been set to go off at approximately 11:02am.
At this point, Smith casually made his way to London Metropolitan University, where he was a student.
Smith was arrested the following day by officers, assisted by armed colleagues, on Holloway Road, in north London.
He was taken to a south London police station where he was interviewed about his actions the previous day.
During a search of his home, officers found a blank firing pistol, a BB gun, a knife and knuckleduster.
When officers examined his social media accounts they discovered that Smith had ‘liked’ a number of videos relating to explosions and had shared articles, on social media, about the current threat level.
More significantly, officers discovered a number of shredded documents.
These were carefully reconstructed by a forensic scientist and found to be pages from an online magazine that gave instructions on bomb-making.
A ‘shopping list’ of bomb materials – created on September 2, 2016 – was recovered from his iPad. Components to make an IED were also found at the house.
As a result of all of the evidence, Smith was charged on October 26, 2016.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met’s counter terrorism command, said in a statement today: “We have seen this week the horrifying impact a bomb can have. And whilst there is no connection between Manchester and Greenwich it brings into stark reality just how devastating it could have been. The bomb Smith made was a viable device, but it failed to detonate, which was our good fortune.
“I would like to praise the public who informed the train driver of the abandoned bag; because of their quick intervention we were able to make it safe and identify Smith.
“At this time of heightened security we ask everyone to remain calm but alert, to report anything that causes concern immediately; if you have suspicions about someone’s behaviour call police.”
Members of the public are encouraged to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police by calling the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321. In an emergency dial 999.