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Friday, 4 October, 2002, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
'Shoe bomber' pleads guilty
Artist's drawling of Reid and Judge William Young
The judge asked Reid if he understood proceedings
British-born Richard Reid has admitted trying to blow up an airliner with explosives hidden in his shoes, laughing in the US court and declaring himself an enemy of America.

The so called "shoe-bomber" changed his plea to guilty on all eight charges against him and declared himself a follower of Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi-born militant blamed for the 11 September attacks.

Richard Reid
Reid was overpowered by passengers
"Basically I got on the plane with a bomb. Basically I tried to ignite it. Basically, yeah, I intended to damage the plane," Reid said.

According to the government, Reid faces a minimum sentence of 60 years and a maximum of life in prison. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for 8 January.

Defiant stance

Reid was overpowered by passengers and staff on an American Airlines Paris-to-Miami flight on 22 December as he tried to ignite explosives in the hollowed-out heel of his shoe. The airliner was diverted to Boston.

The judge in Boston accepted Reid's plea after asking if he agreed with the government's description of what happened on the Paris to Miami flight.

During the 80-minute hearing, Judge William Young turned to him several times and asked him if he was fully aware of the proceedings.

Reid offered monosyllabic replies.

The charges
Attempted use of weapon of mass destruction
Attempted murder
Attempted homicide
Placing an explosive device on an aircraft
Interfering with the work of a flight crew (two counts)
Attempted destruction of an aircraft
Using a destructive device

The judge questioned Reid about whether he had ever been treated for a mental illness or held negotiations with the government. He answered no on both counts.

When asked why he had chosen to plead guilty, Reid, dressed in a beige prison jumpsuit, answered: "Because I know what I've done... At the end of the day, I know I done the actions."

Reid had previously said his guilty plea was conditional on the government removing references in two of the charges that link him with al-Qaeda.

Judge Young said he would probably deny this request, but Reid went ahead and pleaded guilty anyway.

"I don't care," he said. "I'm a follower of Osama Bin Laden. I'm an enemy of your country and I don't care."

Al-Qaeda links

The US administration opposed the motion to strike the references linking Reid to al-Qaeda.

In a seven-page document filed on Thursday, prosecutors said they could prove Reid received training at al-Qaeda camps that was vital to his attempt to bring down the flight on 22 December 2001, carrying 197 people.

Reid's shoes
Reid's shoes were packed with explosives

"The court should know that the al-Qaeda allegations... are supported by witness statements of individuals with personal knowledge of Reid's presence at al-Qaeda training camps," prosecutors said before Reid's court appearance.

"Reid's prior al-Qaeda training is relevant to knowledge, motive, intent, planning and premeditation," the prosecutors said.

Investigators from the FBI say Reid was given help in making the bomb, citing evidence of a human hair and palm print found on the explosives.

But Reid has always insisted he acted alone.

The BBC's Emma Simpson in Boston
"The judge questioned Reid for more than an hour"
The BBC's George Eykyn
"Robin Reid said he had felt horror at his son's activities"
Richard Reid's father Robin Reid
"I think he's done the right thing"

Key stories

European probe


See also:

03 Oct 02 | Americas
28 Dec 01 | UK
20 Jun 02 | Europe
23 May 02 | Americas
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