Parsons Green bomb: Teenager on trial blames action film fantasies for attack


A man accused of trying to blow up a London Tube train, has denied his actions were to avenge his father’s death in Iraq

Ahmed Hassan, said prior to the attack he had been fantasising about becoming a fugitive after watching lots of action films.

The 18-year-old is accused of planting the bomb on the District Line train, with the device timed to go off at Parsons Green station during the busy morning rush hour commute on 15 September 2017.

The home-made explosive contained 400g of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and was packed with shrapnel. It was placed in a bucket and left on the train inside a Lidl shopping bag.

Mr Hassan told London’s Old Bailey that he had only carried out the attack for “attention” after he developed a “fugitive fantasy” from watching action films during the summer holidays when he was “bored”.

He claimed he had not meant for the device to completely explode and only wanted it to catch light.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan suggested this was not the case and that he had wanted to cause “maximum” damage to ease his guilt at living in a “safe haven”, the country he blamed for his father’s death.

Although the bomb only partially exploded, she said: “This is a very calculated act of anger, Mr Hassan. Something you planned for some time. You were given a safe haven to live in this country. You were given a home and an education and you felt guilty about that, didn’t you?

“You felt guilty that you had let down people in Iraq by coming here and accepting a safe haven in the country that you held responsible for your father’s death.”

Hassan denied it, saying he expressed anger about British involvement in Iraq so people would not see him as a “coward”.

He told jurors he did not blame anyone for his father’s death in an explosion in 2006.

The defendant refused to watch CCTV footage of a “huge fireball” engulfing the train, one stop after he got off, leaving the device in a bucket inside a Lidl bag.

Asked if it was what he expected would happen, Hassan replied: “I knew it would make a fire as it did in the test.”

Hassan went on to express regret at what happened, saying: “I wish I could travel back in time and stop it at once but that’s not possible. I’m very sorry but it can’t be done.”

Asked what he was sorry about, he said: “The effect that it had on people. Because I myself have mental scars and I know how hard it is.”

He said he also felt bad for “people who have supported me in this country and cared about me”.

Earlier, the court heard how Hassan’s mother died when he was young and his taxi driver father was killed in an explosion in Iraq in 2006.

He said: “It was very difficult. I did not understand what was going on. I was in a state of confusion because of fighting, because of bombing.”

Aged 16, Hassan smuggled himself into Britain for a chance of a “better life” and to further his education.

He lied to immigration officials saying he was kidnapped and trained to kill by Isis to support his asylum claim, he said.

Hassan told jurors he enjoyed studying photography when he was at Brooklands College in Weybridge.

He said: “I wanted to go to university and my ultimate goal was to become a wildlife photographer like David Attenborough.”

On why he decided to make a bomb in the summer of 2017, he told jurors: “I was very bored, very stressed, very confused and I watched lots of movies, action movies during that time.

“It became kind of a fantasy in my head. I was thinking about it. Yes, that was it. I was watching documentaries as well, about fugitives and just the idea of being a fugitive got into my head. And I thought about it and that was it.”

Hassan claimed his homemade TATP went “whoof” but did not explode when he tested it on the kitchen table at his foster home, even though Ms Morgan said there was no sign of scorch marks.

He had the device by his side when his foster father Ron Jones tried to find out why he was not sleeping, the night before the attack, the court heard.

Tim Moloney QC, defending, asked if he ever intended to hurt anyone, and Hassan replied: “The idea of killing another human being never crossed my mind at all, never in my life.”

Hassan told jurors he got “scared” after the bombing, and wanted to return to his home country.

But Ms Morgan said he was “calm” as he disposed of his mobile phone, checked the headlines and changed his clothes en route to Dover, where he was picked up by police.

The teenager, of Sunbury, Surrey, has denied attempted murder and using the chemical compound TATP to cause an explosion that was likely to endanger life.

The trial continues. 

Press Association contributed to this report

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