NEWS
12/03/2018 16:18 GMT | Updated 12/03/2018 16:20 GMT

Parsons Green Defendant Said 'It's My Duty To Hate Britain', Court Hears

The teenage asylum seeker is on trial for attempted murder.

PA
Ahmed Hassan is accused of leaving a bomb on a Parsons Green Tube train in September 2017 

A teenage asylum seeker said it was his “duty to hate Britain” before he planted a bomb at Parsons Green Tube station, a court has heard.

Ahmed Hassan, 18, arrived in Britain from Iraq in October 2015. Two years later, he is alleged to have left 400 grams of explosive TATP on a London Tube train, injuring 30 people. 

During his two years in the UK, Hassan studied media at Brooklands College in Weybridge, Surrey, and was placed in a foster home under the care of a couple in Sunbury.

Though he had been named student of the year in June 2017, his lecturer and mentor Katie Cable became increasingly concerned about his behaviour in the months before the incident.

Cable even alerted Prevent, part of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, after she saw a WhatsApp message on Hassan’s phone saying: “IS has accepted your donation” in August 2016.

He also told her he blamed Britain for the death of his parents in Iraq and said: “It’s my duty to hate Britain,” the court heard.

Giving evidence, Cable said Hassan was initially “incredibly conflicted, frightened, confused, plagued by boredom”.

When he first started at Brooklands in April 2016, he would snap pens and walk out of the classroom, she said, but added that he was was “very clever” and made great academic progress.

Cable told jurors: “I believe Ahmed said his father was blown up and his mother had been shot.” He talked about Tony Blair and expressed “anger” at events in Iraq, she said. “I believe the anger was very clear. He referred to being angry several times.”

Hassan allegedly told her “the British” were responsible for his parents’ death. He would suffer “flashbacks” and “depression”, so she organised a place on the National Citizenship Scheme during the summer of 2016.

But he declined holiday offers in the 2017 break and by September 7th last year, Cable said she was becoming “really concerned about his mental state”. The day before the bombing, Hassan gave Cable presents for children, which she found “strange”. 

Prosecutor Alison Morgan asked: “Did you think he was straight with you?” She replied: “I don’t know. If you had asked me in September I would have said yes.”

PA/Elizabeth Cook
Court artist sketch of Ahmed Hassan

The court heard that Hassan had earlier given Barnardo’s workers differing accounts about his background while at a children’s hostel.

In an immigration interview in January 2016, he told officials that IS had trained him “to kill”. Barnardo’s worker Youseff Habibi told jurors: “His father was a taxi driver and one morning he went to work and a bomb fell on him and he died.

“And his mum died when he was much younger. He said ‘I don’t remember my mum’.”

Morgan asked: “Did Mr Hassan ever say who he blamed for that?” Habibi replied: “America.” He said it was American soldiers and an American army bombing.

Another Barnardo’s worker, Zoe Spencer, accompanied Hassan to an immigration interview at Lunar House in Croydon in January 2016.

Officials asked Hassan: “Have you previously or are you any part of a terrorist group, for example, Isis?”

He replied: “Yes, I was recruited by Isis for three months,” the court was told. 

Asked how she felt about it, Spencer said: “Disheartened, sickened, as if he did not understand the question, so I stopped the interview.”

During a second interview with an interpreter Hassan added that he had been “forced” to go with IS, and denied he had been sent to Europe to work for them.

About a week later, Spencer said she saw Hassan looking at a picture of people in balaclavas with guns and the black flag of IS.

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

The trial continues.