Restaurant bomber jailed for life

A Muslim convert who injured himself in a failed suicide attack in an Exeter restaurant has been jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years.

Nicky Reilly accidentally set off a home-made nail bomb in a toilet cubicle as he prepared to target dozens of innocent customers at the Giraffe restaurant.

The 22-year-old, described as the "least cunning" person ever to have been charged with terrorism", injured only himself in the blast in May last year.

Reilly, of King Street, Plymouth, suffers from Asperger's syndrome and has learning difficulties.

He later pleaded guilty to attempted murder and preparing an act of terrorism.

Sentencing him on Friday at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith said: "The offence of attempted murder is aggravated by the fact that it was long-planned, that it had multiple intended victims and was intended to terrorise the population of this country.

"It was sheer luck or chance that it did not succeed in its objectives."

The court heard that Reilly decided to carry out his attack on the restaurant after being encouraged by others on the internet.

He had intended to run out into the packed dining area holding three bottles, filled with caustic soda, kerosene and nails, to his stomach.

But he got stuck in the toilet as he prepared the blast, leaving one of the bottles to go off before he could leave the cubicle.