UK: Muslim convert 'left hoax bomb message'

Yorkshire Post 

A WHITE Muslim convert planted a hoax bomb on a bus full of people with a note saying that 'Britain must be punished', a court was told today.

Nicholas Roddis, 22, is said to have disguised himself with a long black beard before planting the fake home-made nailbomb on a crowded bus in May last year.

A court heard yesterday that Roddis, of Rotherham, had recently learned the teachings of Islam in a move to convert over to the religion and had even recorded the preachings of disgraced cleric Abu Hamza.

Prosecutor Edward Brown told Leeds Crown Court that Roddis, who used to work at a loans company in Sheffield, would only befriend the Muslim workers at the firm and showed them recordings of Allied soldiers being tortured and beheaded.

Mr Brown said: "His behaviour, to one colleague, appeared to be focused on radical Islam and he would speak about his views on the US policy in Iraq.

"He was heard once saying that it was terrible how so many of his 'brothers and sisters' were being killed, and viewed the US soldiers as the real terrorists.

"He has recorded the preachings of Abu Hamza and shown them to a colleague but was told that Abu Hamza's beliefs were against Islam and he should not be following them."

The court heard that a childhood friend of Roddis had severed all contact with him after Roddis told him, while holding a bottle of liquid: "Do you see this, you can make a bomb out of that." Roddis had also told his friend that he wanted to make petrol bombs and throw them off a bridge onto buses "just for the buzz."

Mr Brown continued: "On the night of May 8 last year a man went onto a bus carrying two carrier bags wearing a long black beard, it was clearly a disguise.

"Not long after he had got on he left the bus leaving one bag behind, when a passenger checked inside he saw three packages with nails, wire, a working clock and a piece of paper with foreign writing on it.

"Obviously this man was convinced that he was looking straight at a bomb and shouted to the driver and the police were called.

"A 100 metre cordon was put around the bomb and 50 nearby houses were evacuated. But after a controlled explosion it was proved to be a hoax. That was to be no consolation to the passengers at the time, to those on the bus looking at what they thought was a bomb."

The writing on the piece of paper was in Arabic and read: "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah. God is great, god is great, god is great. Britain must be punished."

The message was signed Al Qaeda Organisation of Iraq. When Roddis was arrested at the house where he was a lodger in Rotherham a large quantity of extremist material was seized.

Mr Brown told the court that it was a collection of most of the material needed to make some form of explosive device capable of causing alarm.

He said: "There was electronic and hard copies of 'how to build a bomb' and the chemicals needed were in a cupboard. The contents of the material revealed a celebration of the terrible atrocities in Iraq.

"In some respects this man is an unlikely terrorist, he is a private person but he behaved in an unusual fashion."

Roddis denies 11 terrorism charges. The trial continues.

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