BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 14:39 GMT
Profile: Manfo Kwaku Asiedu
A man accused of being the fifth bomber on 21 July 2005 has admitted conspiracy to cause explosions. Manfo Kwaku Asiedu portrayed himself as a reluctant bomber.

Manfo Asiedu
Born circa 1973
Believed to be from Ghana
Arrived in UK 2003
Used name Georges Nanak Marquaye
Then used name Manfo Kwaku Asiedu
June 2005 - moved in with Yassin Omar
26 July 2005 - hands himself in to police
10 July 2007 - jury deadlocked in his first trial
8 Nov 2007 - pleads guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions

Manfo Kwaku Asiedu is probably the most enigmatic of the 21 July defendants - the man who tried a desperate "cut-throat" defence but ultimately admitted his guilt, all be it to a lesser degree than the four other bombers.

Asiedu presented himself in the dock as a man under the psychological control of Muktar Ibrahim - and a man who did not want to blow himself up.

He abandoned his device on the morning of the attacks, leaving the explosives to be found by a park-keeper - but his account of the final days was as murky as his entire life story.

Mystery beginnings

At his trial at Woolwich Crown Court earlier this year Stephen Kamlish QC, for Asiedu, said his client's real name was Sumaila Abubakhari.

I didn't know them and I was scared [for] my life and at that point [I thought] I just have to go on and do what they told me to do so that I can get out of that place
Manfo Kwaku Asiedu

He arrived in Britain in late 2003 on a flight from Ghana, using a passport in the name Georges Nanak Marquaye.

Shortly afterwards he assumed the identity Manfo Kwaku Asiedu after discovering it was the name of a former tenant at the house where he was staying. His own false passport had been destroyed in a house fire.

The real Manfo Asiedu had been sectioned and was apparently in no position to realise what had happened.

Back in Ghana, the 21 July bomber had been brought up a Muslim in what appears to have been a well-to-do family. He had studied to the equivalent of A-level standard and went into the agriculture business with his family.

On reaching the UK he sought out local mosques where he could pray and also help with voluntary work. One of the first mosques he visited was Finchley, also frequented by co-defendant Yassin Omar.

He later played football for the mosque's own team and was nicknamed George by team-mates because of a passing resemblance to Liberian star George Weah.

Among his friends from the mosque - and among the defendants - he was known as Ismail.

Hair bleach

Taking the stand during the trial, Asiedu presented himself as a terrified man and unwilling participant in the events of 21 July 2005.

Asiedu in the Trocadero
Asiedu wandered through central London after aborting the bombing

But he was intimately involved in the buying of bomb ingredients including the critical element of hydrogen peroxide hair bleach.

He was working as a painter and decorator at the time and told several wholesalers he needed the chemical to bleach wood or to strip wallpaper.

In June 2005, after a fire in his flat, he moved in with Omar at Curtis House in New Southgate, the second time the pair had lived together. Curtis House at this time had been turned into the bomb factory with hundreds of bottles of hydrogen peroxide littered around the flat.

Asiedu, as Ismail, appears on a hand-written shifts rota for bomb construction, each defendant taking his turn to keep the preparations on track.

'Escape route'

The final hours before the attacks are at the heart of Asiedu's story - and were the subject of some of the high drama of the trial.

They are desperate men and desperate men will do anything if they perceive it to be in their own interest
Max Hill, prosecutor
During the trial he claimed he had found out about the plan to become suicide bombers only on the morning of the attacks.

He said he was looking for an escape route but was terrified the others would kill him if he walked out of the flat.

On 21 July Asiedu did indeed abandon his device - and on 26 July he voluntarily walked into a police station.

Asiedu claimed Ibrahim had booby-trapped the bomb factory in the hope of bringing down the entire tower block. Asiedu claimed he had defused this booby-trap, although the evidence for a sixth bomb remains unclear.

Asiedu's "cut-throat" tactics led to him being separated from the other defendants in the dock.

Mr Kamlish said his client had been "used and abused" by Ibrahim, who was a "cowardly, manipulative schemer".

"He's not asking for any applause, but he was in fact responsible - potentially - for saving the block and all the people in it."

But prosecutors Nigel Sweeney QC and Max Hill said Asiedu's story was not to be trusted.

"Asiedu waited until the end of the Crown's evidence before revealing what he now says is his truthful account as to the real suicide and murder plot," said Mr Hill.

"He was content to sit and wait through week after week of prosecution evidence, seeing, you may think, whether the case did indeed stand up.

"They are desperate men and desperate men will do anything if they perceive it to be in their own interest."

The jury at Woolwich Crown Court were unable to reach a verdict at his trial earlier this year and he was due to face a retrial next week.

But on Friday the charge of conspiracy to murder was dropped.

Asiedu pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions.





FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific