Parsons Green: Jurors shown moment fireball engulfs Tube

Ahmed Hassan in the dock as prosecuting counsel Alison Morgan QC speaks to the courtImage copyright
Julia Quenzler

Image caption

Ahmed Hassan denies attempted murder and causing an explosion likely to endanger life

A video showing the moment an orange fireball engulfed a Tube train has been shown to jurors at the Old Bailey.

A bomb exploded on the District Line on 15 September, 2017, and prosecutors allege that Ahmed Hassan built the device and set the timer.

He denies attempted murder and causing an explosion likely to endanger life.

Witnesses told the court about the “chaos” of the incident, describing a “rolling fireball”, a “wall of glass” and “people screaming” in the carriage.

CCTV allegedly shows Mr Hassan leaving the train one stop earlier at Putney Bridge station, having left a bag behind.

Detective Constable Andrew Leonard told the court that Mr Hassan was not seen to put his hand inside the bag at any point.

He was arrested at the Port of Dover the next day.

‘Slow motion’

Many of the 93 people caught in the bombing suffered burns or were crushed in the stampede to get out, the court heard.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan has said experts concluded it was simply “luck” that the bomb did not fully detonate.

Retired counter-terrorism officer Alex Beavan had boarded the train at Wimbledon and was standing near the doors when the bomb went off.

“I heard a huge popping sound,” he said. “Looking towards the direction of the sound, I saw a rolling fireball coming over the ceiling at the back of the train.

“I saw the rolling fireball, wall to wall, slowly coming up the ceiling.

He added: “Everything goes in slow motion. There was a woman. I could see her realise what was happening and she began screaming and some men were shouting ‘run’.

“There was chaos and I was thinking there is going to be a second attack so I ran across the platform.”

A victim, referred to in court as Miss S, was a metre away from the device when it exploded.

She said: “I had burns, my knees were bad, my face was all burned. My coat was burning, my tights melted.”

Aimee Colville, who got on the train at Parsons Green moments before the explosion, said she saw a “wall of glass” coming towards her.

She said: “I don’t know if I physically got myself down or if I blacked out, but at that point I noticed a flame come over my right side.

“That morning I had curled my hair and I had put hairspray in my hair, so when the flames came over me my hair immediately caught fire.”

Lucinda Glazebrook, who also boarded the train at Parsons Green, told the court she felt the heat from the fireball on her face.

“I kept touching my face and feeling the back of my hair and my hair was coming out in chunks,” she said.

Journey before attack

A number of other videos allegedly showing Mr Hassan’s movements on the day of the attack have been shown to the jury by prosecutors.

The first video is said by prosecutors to show him leaving his foster home in Sunbury, Surrey, carrying a plastic bag, which they told the court contained the device that exploded on the underground train.

A second then allegedly shows Mr Hassan catching a train to Wimbledon.

And CCTV from the platform allegedly showed him going into the station toilets – where prosecutors said he set the timer on the device – and emerging 13 minutes later carrying the bag and heading towards the District Line platforms.

Further footage was also shown, which prosecutors said showed Mr Hassan from a day before the attack going to two supermarkets – an Asda and an Aldi in Feltham – buying matches, batteries, a screw driver and screw driver bit sets, allegedly used to construct the device.

UK arrival

Jurors were told on Wednesday that Mr Hassan had arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry via the Channel Tunnel in October 2015.

He told authorities he was born in June 1999 in Iraq, but had no identity documents. He gave his name as Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Ali.

He claimed asylum, and from 2016 lived with foster parents in Cavendish Road, Sunbury.

At the time he allegedly planned his attack, his asylum claim was still outstanding, the court heard.

The trial continues.

Parsons Green: Jurors shown moment fireball engulfs Tube

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