Parsons Green terrorist is jailed for at least 34 years after the judge rules he lied about only being 18
The Parsons Green bomber lied about his age in order to remain in the UK sparking renewed questions over the screening of child migrants. Iraqi born, Ahmed Hassan, entered Britain illegally three years ago and then applied for asylum, claiming to be a 16-year orphan, who had keen kidnapped by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil). Hassan was jailed for life with a minimum of 34-years, after being convicted of attempting to murder dozens of commuters on a packed rush hour train at Parsons Green in south west London. But the case raises serious questions over the ability of officials to weed out asylum seekers who try to take advantage of the system by claiming to be children. Two years ago the Government came in for intense criticism when pictures emerged showing applicants who appeared to be much older than 17, claiming to be unaccompanied child migrants. Home Office officials later suggested they might look older because of the ordeals they had suffered, But critics have insisted the system is open to exploitation and offers a potential gateway for terrorists to enter the UK. The device detonated on a tube train at Parsons Green Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, told Hassan the length of the sentence reflected the fact he did not believe he was only 18 and said he hoped the amount of time he spent in prison would give him the chance to study the Koran properly. More than 50 people were injured when the bomb partially detonated sending a fireball down the busy carriage of the District Line train last September. But it is feared scores would have been killed if the device, which was packed with 400g of 'Mother of Satan' explosives, had functioned as Hassan had intended. At his sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey, the judge said: "Your intention that morning was to kill as many members of the British public as possible by planting the IED (improvised explosive device) on a busy commuter Tube train." He went on: "You will have plenty of time to study the Koran in Prison... the Koran is a book of peace... Islam forbids breaking the law of the land.....Islam forbids terror." Hassan came to Britain hidden in the the back of a lorry in Autumn of 2015, around the time the government relaxed the rules on accepting asylum applications from unaccompanied minors. More than 50 people were hurt when the Parsons Green bomb partially exploded He was found a place in a Barnardo's children's home and made a formal asylum application to the Home Office in January 2016. Hassan told officials his parents had been killed and he had been kidnapped by Isil and trained to kill by them. While his asylum application was being processed he was placed with Ron and Penny Jones, a foster couple from Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, who had been given an MBE for helping hundreds of youngsters, including scores of refugees. But the elderly couple were not informed of his extremist links and have since complained they should have been warned to look out for signs of radicalisation. Hassan was also granted a place at a local college, where began studying photography and filmmaking. But despite suspicions about his true age and back story, officials from the government's anti-radicalisation, Prevent programme, failed to spot his terrorist intentions. Mr Justice Haddon-Cave told Hassan: "I note that your tutor at college thought you were physically and mentally older than you claimed to be. I am satisfied that that you lied about your date of birth on arrival in order to glean the special privileges accorded to children entering the UK." The judge said Hassan had been shown "every kindness" since he arrived in Britain yet harboured "dark thoughts" and significant hatred and animosity towards the country that took him in. During his trial, the Old Bailey heard how Hassan had wanted to avenge the death of his father, who he claimed had been killed in Iraq. Ahmed Hassan was referred to the Prevent programme Credit: PA On the morning of September 15 last year, Hassan left his home and caught a train to Wimbledon carrying his bomb inside a Lidl bag. He set the timer in Wimbledon then got off the train one stop before the bomb partially exploded on the floor of the carriage at Parsons Green. Twenty-three passengers suffered burns, with some describing their hair catching fire and their clothes melting in the blast. And 28 more suffered cracked ribs and other crush injuries in the stampede to get out of the platform via a narrow stairway. Hassan destroyed his phone before feeling London with more than £2,000 in cash, but was arrested by police at the Port of Dover the following day.