Bus driver tells of finding rucksack bomb with explosives 'oozing' out

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Video footage of the moment one of the alleged July 21 terror plotters tried to explode a homemade rucksack bomb on a bus was released tonight.

The pictures, shown to the jury in the bomb plot trial today, purport to show Muktar Said Ibrahim attempting to detonate a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and chapatti flour on the top deck of a number 26 bus in east London.

Startled by a sudden and very loud bang, his fellow passengers turn round in their seats to stare at Ibrahim, sat on his own on the back seat. Their reaction appears to be one of confusion rather than panic.

The pictures appear to show Ibrahim abandoning the remains of his alleged bomb on the floor and quickly making his way down to the lower deck, before many of his fellow commuters on the top deck even have the chance to get to the stairwell.

The grainy CCTV images then show the alleged bomber fleeing the bus while the confused driver inspects the back of his vehicle for damage, mistakenly thinking he might have been involved in a collision.

Photographs of the remnants of Ibrahim's alleged bomb were also released tonight, showing the rucksack split open and the yellow explosive gel-like mixture seeping out onto the floor.

The driver of the bus, Mark Maybanks, told today of the moment he discovered the alleged bomb on the top deck of his bus as he searched for the cause of the bang.

He described seeing a mixture with the consistency of butter "oozing" out of the sides of the rucksack, while screws - alleged to have been shrapnel - were scattered on the stairs.

Mr Maybanks then told the jury of the moment Ibrahim boarded the bus and stared him in the eyes, waving his bus pass around in a "funny manner" just minutes before his alleged attempted suicide bombing.

Woolwich Crown Court also heard today about the moment when a park keeper discovered another of the alleged rucksack bombs dumped in shrubbery.

Jackie Whitcomb was clearing up litter in Little Wormwood Scrubs Park, west London, two days after the alleged bombings, when he came across the abandoned device.

The prosecution alleges it had been dumped by another of the plotters, Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, after he lost his nerve at the last minute.

Sharon Broome, a senior forensic scientist at the Forensic Explosives Laboratory in Kent, who later examined the alleged bomb said it could have caused death and destruction on a "massive scale".

She concluded it had all the "component parts necessary to form a potentially viable, homemade or improvised explosive device".

It had a power supply, viable initiator and an explosive mixture of hydrogen peroxide, flour and water, she said.

Asked what the effect would be of detonating that kind of device on the transport system, she said: "It would serious injury, death and damage to the train on a massive scale."

Ibrahim, 29, of Stoke Newington, north London, and Asiedu, 33, of no fixed address, are two of six men accused of hatching the extremist Muslim plot to carry out a series of murderous suicide bombings on the London public transport system on July 21, 2005 - two weeks after the July 7 London bombings.

The other defendants are: Ramzi Mohammed, 25, of North Kensington, west London; Yassin Omar, 26, from New Southgate, north London; Hussain Osman, 28, of no fixed address; and Adel Yahya, 24, of High Road, Tottenham, north London.

They all deny charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.

The CCTV footage released tonight also showed three of the alleged plotters, Ibrahim, Mohammed and Omar arriving at Stockwell Tube station in south London on the day of the alleged attacks.

The three, carrying their alleged rucksack bombs on their shoulders, enter the station slightly apart from each other, before descending the escalator and splitting up.

Ibrahim caught a Tube train to Bank station, from where he picked up the number 26 bus.

Omar allegedly tried to detonate a device on a Victoria line train at Warren Street, while Mohammed allegedly tried to set off his bomb on a Northern line train at Oval.

Earlier today, Mr Maybanks told the court how he had been on a journey from Waterloo station to Hackney Wick, when he picked up Ibrahim close to Bank station.

The jury was shown footage of Ibrahim waiting at a bus stop in Queen Victoria Street, allowing several buses to pass before boarding the No. 26, along with four or five other commuters.

Mr Maybanks told the jury that Ibrahim stood out from the crowd. "Most passengers who have a bus pass just get on - they do not make eye contact," he said.

"This particular gentlemen was waving the bus pass in a funny kind of manner and made staring eye contact with me. That seemed to stick in my mind."

As the bus approached a set of traffic lights at the junction of Shoreditch High Street and Hackney Road, Mr Maybanks and his passengers suddenly heard a "very loud bang".

However, there was no "jolt forward" to suggest the bus had been in a collision.

"I asked anybody if they knew what happened," Mr Maybanks said. "It was at that point another person said 'I can smell cordite'."

After establishing there had been no collision, Mr Maybanks turned into Hackney Road, stopping at the first bus stop.

Climbing the stairs to the top deck, he noticed several screws on the steps and then "a funny kind of smell".

"On the last row of seats, I looked down to the right hand side on the floor - that is when I saw a rucksack sitting there," he said.

The jury was shown photographs of the split Fitness First rucksack, with its alleged explosive mixture on the floor.

Some of it was "oozing out of the sides of the rucksack," Mr Maybanks said. At that point, he called the police.

Security officer Abu Kamara was sleeping on the top deck on his way home, when he was woken by the bang - which the prosecution allege was the sound of Ibrahim's detonator firing, but failing to ignite the main charge.

"I could smell something burning," he said.

"The bang that I heard sounded like a handful of marbles or glass being dropped from a height on the floor."

A nine volt battery was found on top of the rucksack, with red electrical leads hanging out of it and some sort of electrical connection attached to one end of them, the jury was told.

There was also a black and grey Nike top lying on top of the yellow mixture at the back of the bus and a blue T-shirt with bleach marks on it. Ibrahim's DNA was found on the T-shirt and the battery, it was alleged.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.