Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 19:30 UK

Car bomb detonation shown to jury


Jurors saw footage of car bomb material being blown up by scientists

Footage of how two car bombs could have been detonated in London's West End have been shown to a jury at Woolwich Crown Court.

Government scientists recreated and filmed the hand-made bombs exploding under laboratory conditions.

The court heard the triggers for the original devices failed to work.

Bilal Abdulla, 29, from Paisley and Mohammed Asha, 27, from Newcastle-under-Lyme deny conspiracy to murder and to cause explosions.

'Electrical triggers'

Dr Abdulla and Mr Asha were arrested after two Mercedes cars packed with petrol, gas canisters and nails were found parked in central London in June last year.

The following day, engineering student Kafeel Ahmed, 28, drove a jeep into a terminal building at Glasgow airport. He later died from burns. Dr Abdulla is alleged to have been a passenger in that vehicle.

Bilal Abdulla and Mohammed Asha
Bilal Abdulla (L) and Mohammed Asha
The scientists recreated the electrical triggers at their laboratory in Kent.

Jurors saw that one detonator, made up of a vehicle bulb surrounded by match heads, burst into flames when connected to a battery.

Prosecutors said the fire was intended to spark petrol vapour in the men's cars which would cause gas canisters to explode

But the original devices, planted in the London cars, failed to go off because mobile phone triggers did not work, the court was told.

Loose connection

Kim Simpson, from the Forensic Explosives Laboratory, said this was because there was a loose connection between the phones and the circuit.

The court heard only one of the four mobile phone detonators left in the two vehicles actually worked.

And a syringe device recovered from a blue Mercedes left in Cockspur Street was found melted and burnt.

Mrs Simpson said almost 121 litres of petrol and about 890 nails were recovered from the other Mercedes left outside the Tiger, Tiger nightclub.

She said 6mm holes had been drilled in syringes, possibly in an attempt to allow air inside and help combustion.

She told the jury petrol jerry cans and gas cylinders would have been placed in the car.

"At some stage after this the inside of the vehicle would be doused with the contents of a 10-litre jerry can and possibly one of the gas regulators opened.

'Lack of oxygen'

She said the suspects would ensure the mobile phones were ready to be used as triggers.

But prosecutors said the gas and petrol bomb failed to explode because there was not enough oxygen in the car.

The court also heard enough materials were found at a house at the house at Houston, near Glasgow, for two more devices.

Mrs Simpson said components for two more initiator circuits were found, as well as ground match head material and more adapted phones.

The jury was shown pictures recovered from a laptop found in the rear of the burnt out Glasgow Airport Jeep.

The laptop belonged to former Liverpool doctor Sabeel Ahmed and was used by his brother Kafeel, the court has heard.

Mrs Simpson said they showed timing devices for improvised explosive devices, one using a Casio watch and the second using a phone.

The trial continues.

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