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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 April, 2005, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Man admits to grenade in luggage
Gatwick airport
The hand grenade discovery delayed thousands of passengers
A man who flew to the UK intending to be a suicide bomber has admitted carrying a hand grenade in his luggage.

Hazil Rahaman-Alan boarded a BA jet in Caracas and the grenade was flown to Gatwick in his case in the hold.

The Venezuelan, 39, admitted having a high explosive hand grenade with intent to endanger life in 2003.

But it was accepted he was not a terrorist and that his motives were obscure, the Old Bailey heard. Sentencing was adjourned until 20 May.

That was to allow for an up-to-date psychiatric report to be prepared. Rahaman-Alan was remanded in custody.

The Venezuelan was arrested when the grenade was found during a routine search on 13 February 2003.

'Plight of others'

The find closed the North Terminal at Gatwick and 40 flight departures were delayed.

Rahaman-Alan was questioned by anti-terrorist officers and charged under the Terrorism Act.

He told police he wanted to blow himself up in an open area to draw attention to the plight of others.

In some respects he could not have done more to convince people he was a terrorist
Nicholas Dean QC

Interviewed after his arrest, Rahaman-Alan said "the grenade would be his microphone to the world", the court heard.

The charges were later changed to offences under the Explosives Act and the Aviation Act.

Nicholas Dean QC, prosecuting, said what Rahaman-Alan had planned to do and partly succeeded in doing "was highly dangerous and disruptive".

"In some respects he could not have done more to convince people he was a terrorist and had he carried out what he intended to do and died, it would have been assumed he was a terrorist and been acclaimed by or for some extremist cause, " he said.

Mr Dean also told the court the grenade could not have been used because the detonator had been removed. An expert concluded there was no risk from the explosives inside without the detonator.

'Fragile' sticker

Rahaman-Alan told police his plan had been "spontaneous".

He had gone to a poor area of Caracas where he bought the grenade from petty criminals. A week later he bought a return flight to Britain.

Mr Dean said: "There is nothing to suggest Mr Rahaman-Alan had any angst against the United Kingdom. He knew very little about this country."

When he checked in his backpack, he requested it should have a fragile sticker stuck on it and travel in the hold with other luggage.

During the flight, he had drawn attention to himself by moving around the aircraft and appearing to be nervous, said Mr Dean.

Mr Dean said he was "fortunately stopped" in a random check by a customs officer at Gatwick.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
How Hazil Rahaman-Alan intended to use the grenade




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