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Moment Tube bomb sends fireball rippling through packed carriage at Parsons Green

Tristan Kirk, Eleanor Rose
Evening Standard

This is the moment a fireball ripped through a packed Tube carriage at Parsons Green station after a homemade bomb was allegedly planted on the train.

Ahmed Hassan, 18, is on trial accused of making and planting the device on the District Line train with 93 people on board in September last year.

Jurors were shown CCTV footage during the trial on Thursday of an orange fireball filling the carriage.

The clip, played to the court, showed dozens of passengers ducking for cover as the flames spread above their heads.

An orange fireball fills the Tube carriage at Parsons Green station

Hassan denies attempted murder and using the chemical compound TATP to cause an explosion that was likely to endanger life.

A victim of the bombing broke down in tears on Thursday as she relived to the courtroom the moment she was badly burned in the blast.

The woman, who was referred to in court as Miss S, suffered burns to her hands, face, and legs when the improvised explosive detonated.

The court heard she was engulfed in the fireball and still bears scars from the incident.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the woman said she heard a “very loud bang” when the bomb went off. “I heard a bang and people screaming,” she said. “I saw people running and I think I saw fire.”

A sketch of Parsons Green Tube bombing suspect Ahmed Hassan in court

She told the court she was knocked to her knees as she fled the train in panic, and then noticed her clothes had caught fire. “My coat was burning and my tights had melted,” she said, wiping away tears.

The court also heard how a Good Samaritan carried another burning woman to safety after the Parsons Green bombing.

Ann Stuart said her head was on fire, leaving her hands, face and mouth "scalded", her hair singed and eyes needed to be washed out.

Ms Stuart had been reading papers as she made her way to work from Sutton, south London.

She said: "What I saw was this flash and whoosh that came up from my side. I feel my reactions were very slow. I stood up, swore and realised that my head was on fire.

"My hands were hot. I took a couple of steps forward. There was a lady on the floor and people were rushing. I just grabbed my bag."

Ms Stuart added: "I patted myself out and got off the train and this man picked me up and held me.

"I just said to him 'get me off this platform'. He shouted to everybody to get out of the way and they just parted. I heard someone say 'oh my God'."

As the trial continued jurors were also shown a replica of the home-made device as explosives officer Andrew Gee, who was responsible for examining and dismantling the device in-situ, gave evidence.

He explained that he used a handheld device called a Trudefender to check what was left of the bomb for explosives. Mr Gee said: "In this instance we had a hit basically in 10-15 seconds. I think it was an 87% hit for TATP."

It is alleged that Hassan built the bomb at his foster home in Sunbury in Surrey, using chemicals he had bought online and packed with shrapnel to cause maximum injury.

He allegedly took the bomb from his home to Wimbledon station where he armed it using a modified kitchen timer. The court has heard that he then planted the bomb on a train heading to Edgware Road before getting off at Putney Bridge.

The device partially detonated at the following stop, Parsons Green.


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