The device detonated as it was being picked up close to the right leg of Edward O'Brien, 21, aboard the 171 bus at the Aldwych, central London, last Sunday.
It was also revealed yesterday that the bomb factory where a number of "bag bombs" have already been produced is at a rented flat in a house owned by an elderly couple in south-east London.
The flat at 117 George Lane, on the border of Catford and Lewisham, was O'Brien's home for the past four months. Anti-terrorist officers raided the flat early on Monday and recovered Semtex explosives and bomb-making equipment. Police were still searching the property.
The inquest, opening at Westminster Coroner's Court, heard that the body of the terrorist, from Gorey, Co Wexford, in the Irish Republic, was identified by a lifelong friend.
In written evidence Darren Cullen, a security officer, said the bomber was a labourer who had come to Britain less than two years ago.
Mr Cullen, whose address was not given, visually identified O'Brien at Westminster Public Mortuary on Wednesday.
Dr Iain West, a pathologist, told the inquest: "He [O'Brien] was very close to the bomb. It's gone off beside his right leg. It was not on the ground when it went off."
Detective Superintendent William Emerton said police were still pursuing attempts to identify O'Brien through fingerprint records.
Asked by Dr Paul Knapman, the coroner, whether O'Brien had used aliases, Mr Emerton said: "There is a possibility ... but I believe him to be Edward Miles O'Brien."
The inquest was adjourned until 6 March.Reuse content