Failed suicide bomber imprisoned for life

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Friday, January 30, 2009

The Old Bailey in London
Image: Nevilley.

A court in London has sentenced a would-be suicide bomber to life imprisonment.

Nicky Reilly, 22, a Muslim convert with learning difficulties and Asperger syndrome, took the components for three bombs — glass bottles containing nails, caustic soda and kerosene — to the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter, south west England, in May 2008. One bottle exploded as Reilly attempted to assemble the device in the restaurant's toilets, causing him facial and hand injuries. He was arrested outside the establishment.

Reilly entered a plea of guilty to attempted murder and engaging in preparation for terrorism when he appeared in court last year. The judge at the Central Criminal Court in London (known as the Old Bailey), Mr Justice Calvert-Smith, told him he would serve a minimum of 18 years, saying that it was "sheer luck or chance that [it] did not succeed in its objectives" and that "[t]he offence of attempted murder is aggravated by the fact that it was long-planned, that it had multiple intended victims and was intended to terrorise the population of this country".

Reilly, also known as Mohammad Rashid Saeed Alim, was recruited via an online forum. He is believed to have a mental age of 10 and Devon and Cornwall Police said he had been "preyed on, radicalised and taken advantage of" by the members of the forum.