Damon Smith: Weapons-obsessed student found guilty of planting home-made bomb on Tube

A weapons-obsessed student is facing years behind bars for planting a home-made bomb on a busy Tube train.

Former altar boy Damon Smith built the device at home with a £2 clock from Tesco after googling an al Qaeda article entitled Make A Bomb In The Kitchen Of Your Mom.

The 20-year-old, who grew up in Newton Abbot, Devon, denied possession of an explosive substance with intent but admitted the lesser offence of making a bomb hoax.

His lawyer told jurors he was no "hate-filled jihadi" and never meant to harm anyone.

But the jury at the Old Bailey rejected his explanation and found Smith guilty of the more serious charge after deliberating for two hours.

On October 20 last year, Smith, who was then 19, headed to his college in Holloway, north London, carrying a rucksack packed with explosives and ball-bearing shrapnel.

CCTV showed him travelling on the Jubilee Line before leaving the bag on the tube as he got off.

Commuters alerted the tube driver to the rucksack, who raised the alarm after spotting wires coming out of it.

Had Smith's timed bomb work, it would have exploded as commuters were ordered off the platform, the Old Bailey was told.

The 20-year-old left the bomb-filled bag on the Jubilee Line. Credit: PA

Upon being arrested by counter-terrorism officers, Smith admitted making the bomb but claimed it was meant to be a Halloween joke.

A search of his home revealed an obsession with guns, explosives and other weapons.

A blank-firing self-loading pistol, BB gun, knuckleduster and knife were all recovered from the property.

Components used by Smith to make his home-made bomb. Credit: PA
A battery used to make Smith's home-made bomb. Credit: PA

Analysis showed he had watched YouTube videos on explosions and posted a picture of himself on Facebook in a Guy Fawkes mask holding handcuffs and a knuckleduster.

The jury heard Smith, who has an autism spectrum disorder, was interested in Islam - however he denied being an extremist.

He had exhibited an interested in bomb-making since the age of 10 and said that it was "something to do when he was bored".

Smith used to be an altar boy. Credit: Family handout

Smith, who grew up with his mother in the south-west, said he had thought about putting a bomb in a park but decided it would be "more funny" to delay train passengers.

His lawyer told jurors that Smith was no "hate-filled jihadi", saying he intended to "make something that looked like a bomb but not function as one"

The judge adjourned sentencing until May 26 to allow time for a probation report on Smith's risk to the public and further psychiatric reports.