British man given life term for failed suicide bombing

January 31st, 2009 - 6:27 am ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 31 (DPA) A British man convicted of staging a failed suicide bomb attack on a crowded restaurant in a university town last summer was Friday given a life sentence for attempted murder.Nicky Reilly, a 22-year-old Muslim convert, was the only person injured when he accidentally set off his home-made nail-bomb in a toilet of a restaurant in Exeter, southwest England, last May.

Sentencing him at the Old Bailey Criminal Court in London, the presiding judge said it was “sheer luck or chance” that the planned attack did not succeed.

“The offence of attempted murder is aggravated by the fact that it was long-planned, that it had multiple intended victims and was intended to terrorize the population of this country,” he added.

Police said earlier that Reilly, who had learning difficulties and a history of mental problems, was “preyed upon and radicalized by others” via an extremist website.

He converted to Islam between 2002 and 2003 and admitted the charges in court. His mother, Kim, told the BBC in an interview Friday that Reilly was “very sorry and very remorseful”.

Defence barrister Kerim Fuad described his client as the “least sophisticated person to have been charged with terrorism.”

But the judge said that Reilly, who had changed his name to Mohammad Rashid Saeed Alim - was fully responsible for his actions and represented a “significant risk of serious harm to the public”.

He should serve at least 18 years of his life sentence.

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