26/05/2017 London News


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A 20-year-old student who planted a home-made bomb on a busy tube


Damon Smith - who has Asperger's - was caught on CCTV leaving


a rucksack filled with ball bearings in a carriage last October.


The judge said that although he hadn't been motivated


by terrorism the seriousness of what he did couldn't


His mother insists he's a vulnerable young man.


Damon Smith moved from Devon to study computer science


Last October, he left his accommodation in Rotherhithe


in South London and waited for the Jubilee line


This CCTV shows him checking the rucksack,


which had a bomb inside, made from ball bearings


He later gets off at London Bridge, leaving the bag behind.


His device was timed to go off a few minutes later, but it didn't.


The train carried on to North Greenwich, where the alarm


Counterterrorism police said his bomb was a viable device


Damon Smith had previously posted images of himself with various


He learned how to make a bomb from an extremist Islamist website.


He also suffers from Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism.


This is what he told the police after his arrest.


I was on the Tube, I realised it was going to Stratford.


I thought, it would be a good time to leave my bag, for my prank.


Following a trial at the Old Bailey, Damon Smith was found guilty


of possession of an explosive substance with intent


and today he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.


Damon Smith sat smiling in the dock during sentencing.


Judge Richard Marks addressed he and the court and said,


although he had an interest in Islam he did not believe the defendant


But, he said, I am driven to treat you as a dangerous offender


and the seriousness of what you did cannot be overstated.


The judge also spoke of the fear in which we all live


in and the recent terrorist attack in Manchester.


At his family home in Devon, his mother told the BBC


she believes his Asperger's influenced his actions.


I'd just say, could you try to be a bit more lenient


He's never been in trouble with the police before,


He's just a vulnerable little boy who needs a bit of help, not prison.


Damon Smith will serve his sentence at a youth offenders institution.


Turning to the election and education has become a key


All the main political parties are promising more


A series of eye-catching policies have also been announced to try


and improve the life-chances of the most disadvantaged pupils.


Our education reporter Marc Ashdown has been looking at what


For the first time ever an equal number of pupils from


disadvantaged backgrounds are starting at University at the same


time as their better off classmates...


Now that is an education policy maker's dream.


But back to today's reality and for too many pupils the idea


of studying in a place like this, Oxford, is just that -


So how can the next Government change things?


Sarah, Dhanya and Josh are pioneers of sorts.


Pupils from their areas of London that have historically never really


I was one of the first people in my school to ever even get


through to the interview and then get the offer.


Me being here symbolises rising up from any disadvantages I may


have faced in my school, in that area.


I was one of two people who have for the first time been admitted


to Oxford from my school, Kingsadale.


When the e-mail came through it was more of a whole


The manifestos are full of big education policies.


The Conservatives believe Grammar schools will help


They will also scrap universal free school meals,


Labour wants to keep free school meals and would


The Lib Dems would also keep free meals and want to triple


I wouldn't have necessarily gone to a grammar school.


And if the talent at my school had been sucked up by a grammar school,


I don't know whether I would have had people that I could


You get the criticism that grammar schools are meant


for working-class kids to get better opportunities, better resources.


It now that goes to people that can afford so much tuition from the ages


I think if they overhaul that testing system.


I think tuition fees are problematic.


You're just saddling young people with more and more


So I think that even if the tuition fee system is not revised,


the maintenance grant and loan system has to be because it's


The big issue at the moment is funding.


Parent protests like this one in East London have been


They are well attended and have the same message.


The cuts have already affected us all.


The resources, the teachers are already finding it difficult


The less funding that we have actually stops the children


from being able to achieve what they need.


Now in primary school it is not getting from that.


What if I get to my secondary school and it's even worse?


The Conservatives will invest an extra ?4 billion over


Labour and the Lib Dems say that should be more like 6 or 7 billion.


These three are working hard towards their degrees.


It's up to the next government to make sure more students


That's it for now from me, but lets find out what the weather's


It has been another warm, sunny day. Things are looking a little little


mix through the bank holiday weekend. Here is the sunset,


captured by one of the weather watchers across the Thames. Clear


skies through this evening and overnight. Creeping into the early


hours of Saturday, one two showers heading in behind me through the


course of Saturday morning. Temperatures are round about 16 or


17 degrees. Many of us will see some of the showers, perhaps even a


rumble of thunder for a tiny early on Saturday. Then they clear away,


not a bad day. It will feel warm, with temperatures again into the


middle high 20s. Sunday, a decent day. Fresher than it has been, not


quite as hot and muggy. The chance of one or two thunderstorms late on


Sunday and overnight into bank holiday Monday. We are not all going


to see them but The Met Office has warned of some potential heavy rain


down to the isolated thunderstorms. I will leave you with an outlook of


the weather in the capital and pass you to my colleague for the National


forecast. Good evening. It is as if the


weather knows there is a bank holiday weekend


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