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A 43-year-old Pakistan-born man with an Italian passport was today found guilty of trying to smuggle a pipe bomb onto a plane at Manchester Airport. Nadeem Muhammad was convicted of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life at Manchester Crown Court today after prosecutors presented evidence that he intended to detonate the device on a Boeing 737 flight to Bergamo, Italy. The jury did not believe Muhammad's claim in court that he had never seen the device before.
He will be sentenced at the same court on August 23. "Despite extensive investigation, Nadeem Muhammad's motive for attempting to take this device onto a plane remains unknown. However it is clear that the consequences, had he been successful, could have been disastrous," said Sue Hemmings from the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The court was told that Muhammad was planning to board a Ryanair flight to Italy on January 30 this year when security officers uncovered the device, made of masking tape, batteries, the tube of a marker pen, pins and wires, in the zip lining of his small green suitcase. Security officers at the airport had not initially believed the bomb was viable and, after being questioned by counter-terrorism police, Muhammad was released and allowed to board another flight to Bergamo, near Milan, five days later. The device was later passed on to counter terrorism experts for examination, who found it to be a "potentially viable" bomb containing nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose. Muhammad was eventually arrested when he returned to the UK from Italy on February 12. A spokesperson for Manchester Airport said the actions of staff had "prevented a potentially dangerous item from being taken on board an aircraft". "In this instance, the actions of our security team led to the detection of a suspicious device [and] following its detection, our team handed the passenger and the device over to the police to investigate further," he said. Muhammad was seen crying in court as the jury returned its guilty verdict, reached by a majority of 10 to two after almost 16 hours of deliberations.
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