Patient talked man out of detonating bomb at hospital, court told

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Mohammed Farooq had planned to detonate an IED at St James’s Hospital in Leeds, a court heard
By PA Media
BBC News

A former patient talked a man out of detonating a bomb in a Leeds hospital after spotting him looking upset, a jury has heard.

Mohammed Farooq, 28, who is accused of planning a terror attack at St James’s Hospital, was “agitated” when Nathan Newby said he tried to “cheer him up”.

Farooq told Mr Newby he wanted revenge on the hospital and planned on setting off a pressure cooker bomb.

At Sheffield Crown Court, Farooq denies preparing acts of terrorism.

Farooq, of Roundhay, is also accused of planning a terror attack at the US base at RAF Menwith Hill, near Harrogate.

In an interview played in court, Mr Newby told police officers how he spotted the defendant as he was walking back into St James’s in the early hours of 20 January.

He said: “He just looked upset, as though he’d had some really bad news.

“I thought I’d go over and see if he’s all right. I thought, if he was down, I’d try and cheer him up.”

A video has been released showing the arrest of Mohammed Farooq at St James’s Hospital.

The video, shown to the jury at Sheffield Crown Court last week but released on Monday, shows Farooq telling armed police a patient had talked him out of exploding a bomb.

Mohammed Farooq: Moment Leeds hospital bomb accused is detained by police

Mr Newby said the defendant described how he was either a student or had worked at the hospital for two years but now “he’s lost everything and just wanted to get them back for what they’d done”.

When he asked Farooq what he was carrying in his bag, Farooq told him it was a bomb and that he was planning on walking into the hospital canteen.

Mr Newby said that he tried to keep Farooq calm and get him away from the hospital entrance so he led him to a bench where they talked for “so many hours”.

Mr Newby said Farooq eventually said he wanted to hand himself in and passed him his phone to call 999.

It was during the emergency call that Farooq produced a handgun, which later turned out to be an imitation.

Mohammed Farooq denies preparing acts of terrorism

Prosecutors have told the jury that the pressure cooker bomb Farooq had with him was a viable device, modelled on one used in the 2013 Boston Marathon attacks.

Though Farooq denies preparing acts of terrorism, he has admitted a number of other offences including possessing a pressure cooker bomb “with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property”.

The jury has also been told that Farooq had a grievance against several of his former colleagues at St James’s Hospital, and “had been conducting a poison pen campaign against them”.

Defence barrister Gul Nawaz Hussain KC has told the court his client was “ready and willing” to detonate the home-made bomb at the hospital because of a “sense of anger and grievance” towards work colleagues but was not motivated by Islamist extremism and not radicalised.

The trial continues.

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