Photographer: Paul Thomas/Bloomberg

U.K. Man Guilty of Trying to Board Plane With Pipe Bomb

Updated on
  • Man attempted to get on Ryanair plane to Italy with device
  • Nadeem Muhammed initially blamed device on one of his children

A man from Manchester, England, was convicted of attempting to board a Ryanair flight to Italy with a pipe bomb in his carry-on luggage, prosecutors said.

Nadeem Muhammed, 43, was convicted by a jury in the northwestern English city of possessing an explosive with intent to endanger life or property, the U.K.’s Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement Tuesday.

He was arrested in February trying to take the pipe bomb, built inside a sealed marker-pen barrel, through security at Manchester airport. He denied the charges and initially said the device must have been planted by one of his five children, the oldest of whom is 11 years old, prosecutors said.

During the trial it was revealed that security officers at the airport had not initially believed the bomb was viable, the Guardian newspaper reported. After questioning, Muhammad was released and allowed to board a flight to the Italian city of Bergamo five days later.

“Despite extensive investigation, Nadeem Muhammed’s motive for attempting to take this device onto a plane remains unknown,” Sue Hemming of the CPS said in a statement. “However it is clear that the consequences, had he been successful, could have been disastrous.”

The conviction comes as British authorities work to prevent another attack in the wake of dozens of fatalities after terrorists struck in London and Manchester last spring. In the 12 months up to March, police arrested 304 people on terrorism charges, the highest since 2001, according to Home Office statistics.

Airplane Safety

Potential attacks on planes have previously caused widespread disruptions to air travel. A 2010 terrorist investigation of a plot to blow up jets during trans-Atlantic flights resulted in limits on the amount of liquids and gels passengers could carry onto planes.

Australian police thwarted what they called one of the most sophisticated terrorism plots the nation has ever faced after two men allegedly attempted to smuggle a homemade bomb onto an Etihad Airways flight leaving Sydney last month.

Muhammed will be sentenced Aug. 23 at Manchester Crown Court.

(Updates with Australian plot from the seventh paragraph.)
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