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Train bomb accused 'wanted to be new David Attenborough'

Parsons Green suspect Ahmed Hassan claimed he wanted to study wildlife photography in UK.

Ahmed Hassan seen at his home in Sunbury.
Ahmed Hassan seen at his home in Sunbury. Met Police

The man suspected of planting a bomb on a Tube train in west London told jurors he lied to officials about being kidnapped by Islamic State because he wanted to study in Britain to become the new David Attenborough.

Iraqi asylum seeker Ahmed Hassan arrived in October 2015 and went on to tell immigration officials he had been forced to train "to kill" by IS, the court has heard.

Then on September 15 last year, the 18-year-old media student planted 400g of homemade explosives and shrapnel on a District Line tube timed to go off when it reached the Parsons Green underground station, the Old Bailey has heard.

When he was picked up at the port of Dover the following morning he told police he had made the bomb, which only partially exploded on the packed rush hour service.

Giving evidence in his defence, Hassan told jurors he was never taken prisoner by IS.

Tim Moloney QC, defending, asked: "Were you ever mistreated by Isis?"

Hassan replied:"No. I have never had any contact with Daesh at all."

He told jurors he made up the story about being kidnapped by IS to get leave to remain in Britain.

Asked why, he said: "Because I came from a wealthy, safe area in northern Iraq, in Kurdistan, and if I told the truth my only reason to leave the country was to further my studies. 

"I felt I had to make up something strong. In the Jungle in Calais people used to talk about these things and make up stories. 

"I never came across a refugee who said he would tell the truth when he arrived in the country. 

"I wanted to go to university and my ultimate goal was to become a wildlife photographer like David Attenborough."

The court was shown a series of pictures taken by Hassan, some of deer in Richmond Park, West London.

Hassan has denied attempted murder and using the chemical compound TATP to cause an explosion that was likely to endanger life. 

The trial continues.

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