Home / NEWS / Parsons Green terror attack: Foster parents of teenage bomber Ahmed Hassan demand to know why he was not stopped

Parsons Green terror attack: Foster parents of teenage bomber Ahmed Hassan demand to know why he was not stopped

The foster parents of the Parsons Green tube bomber last night attacked the authorities for failing to warn them that he had been “trained to kill” by militants.

Ron and Penny Jones MBE, took Iraqi refugee Ahmed Hassan, now 18, into their home in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, and cared for him like a son.

They were never told of his links to the Islamic State terror group and have accused the Home Office and social services of putting their lives at risk.

Hassan, who arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry in 2015, was found guilty yesterday (FRI) of attempted murder after causing a blast that injured 51 people on a packed London underground train.

He successfully plotted to cause carnage under the nose of the anti-terrorism Prevent scheme and despite telling Home Office officials he had been trained by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Hassan had expressed a desire to wreak his revenge on Britain for the death of his father, who was killed in an explosion in his native Iraq when he was 12.

It was last night claimed that Prevent did not make contact with Hassan for eight months despite being referred shortly after he arrived in the UK.

The authorities have apologised for repeated failures to stop him carrying out the attack, which could have killed dozens of people.

Mrs Jones said last night: “The Home Office should have been honest. He still needed somewhere to live, he still needed to be looked after, but I would have liked to have known because we could’ve been looking out for signs of radicalisation.

“It feels like a total betrayal. I can’t believe he would do something like that. I’m just so grateful he didn’t succeed.

“I don’t think social services even realised because they never told us. If they had been aware they would have said something to us.”

Her husband added: “If we’d known, we could have been more watchful. I still can’t believe he did it. He seemed like such a good kid.”

Mrs Jones told the Daily Mail that Hassan was the only one of the 269 children they had fostered who had betrayed her.

“He used to have stuff delivered to the house from Amazon,” she added.

“ One time he received a package and I asked what it was. He said it was something for his PlayStation, but now I know it was something you put in a bomb to trigger it.”

That bomb comprised  400g of “Mother of Satan” explosives packed in a bucket with 2.2kg of screwdrivers, knives, nuts and bolts, which was planted on the packed District Line carriage on September 15 last year.

Ahmed Hassan poses for a picture with a knife at home in Sunbury

Credit:
Metropolitan Police 

David Munro, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner, admitted that opportunities had been missed to tackle Hassan before he made his attack, which he acknowledged was “very worrying”.

“As far as Surrey is concerned, it is obvious we were too slow – all the organisations involved,” he added.

“It just shows what a knife-edge we are on.

“I hope this doesn’t deflect from the essential soundness of the Prevent programme. I’m a firm supporter of it, it works very well indeed, but unfortunately we’ve seen here that it doesn’t work every time, for which we must all apologise.”

Surrey County Council also admitted some responsibility for failing to prevent the attack, describing it as a difficult case with tough circumstances.

A spokesman said: “Our work with other agencies in this case wasn’t as good as it should have been and we’re sorry for our part in that.”

Ben Wallace, Security Minister at the Home Office, also said there were “lessons to be learned” from the case.

A review into the Prevent programme in Surrey is now taking place.

Video: Moment the bomb exploded at Parsons Green

In January 2016, three months after arriving in Britain illegally, Hassan told Home Office officials he had been recruited by IS and forced to train with them.

During an immigration interview at Lunar House in Croydon, he said: “They trained us how to kill. It was all religious based.”

While in the care of Barnardo’s children’s charity, he was caught listening to an Arabic song with a call to bring slaughter to people’s homes.

He was also seen to look at a picture of balaclava-clad fighters holding machine guns and the black IS flag.

That April, he was given a place at Brooklands College in Weybridge, where he studied media and photography, and his mentor, Katie Cable, helped the effort to find him a foster home.

He told her that his mother, who he did not remember, was shot and his father was killed in an explosion.

Ms Cable referred Hasaan to the Government’s de-radicalising, Prevent, programme after he told her it was his “duty to hate Britain” when she saw a WhatsApp message thanking him for making an IS donation.

Two months before the bombing he texted her: “But your country continues to bomb my people.”

And in early September he told her: “It’s almost better to be back in Iraq. It’s better to die because you have heaven.”

The jury heard that the teenager had appeared traumatised when he arrived at the college, was secretive, had self-harmed and contemplated suicide.

In the summer before the attack, his foster parents, who did not give evidence at the trial,  expressed “significant concerns” about his mental deterioration and urged social workers to make contact with him.

He was said to have gone around their home with a black marker writing “bored” on the walls.

Hassan assembled the ingredients for homemade explosives in his bedroom while the couple were on holiday in Blackpool.

He used a £20 Amazon voucher, which was his student of the year award, to buy one of the key chemicals online.

The teenager claimed he was “certain” it would not explode, having tested a sample on the kitchen table, although no scorch marks could be found.

But prosecutors said the student was moved by “anger and hatred” and wanted to cause “maximum” carnage.

On the morning of September 15, he caught a train to Wimbledon carrying his bomb inside a Lidl bag.

In the station lavatory, he set the bomb to blow in 15 minutes and then boarded the District line train, getting off one stop before it partially exploded.

Commuters ducked for cover and scrambled to escape when a ball of fire rolled down the carriage.

Twenty-three passengers suffered burns, with some describing their hair catching fire and their clothes melting in the blast. Many suffered cracked ribs and crush injuries in the stampede to get off the platform.

Meanwhile, Hassan destroyed his phone and changed into a Chelsea shirt as he fled with more than £2,000 in cash but was arrested in Dover the next day.

Giving evidence about why he planted the bomb, he said: “It became kind of a fantasy in my head.”

Hassan told jurors he lied about having contact with IS to get asylum in Britain and have the chance of a “better life”.

He was convicted by a unanimous verdict and will be sentenced next Friday.

Outside court, Commander Dean Haydon, head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “I describe Hassan as an intelligent and articulate individual that is devious and cunning in equal measures.

“On the one hand he was appearing to engage with the (Prevent) programme but he kept secret what he was planning and plotting. We describe him as a lone actor.”

On the bomb’s potential, he said: “It was only through good fortune that it only partially exploded. If it had, without a doubt we would have been dealing with many fatalities.”

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/16/parsons-green-terror-attack-teenager-ahmed-hassan-found-guilty/

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