Asperger's sufferer was least cunning person to be charged with terror offences
A failed suicide bomber with a mental age of 10 who tried to blow up a busy Exeter restaurant has been jailed for life and told he must serve a minimum of 18 years.
Nicky Reilly, a white Muslim convert recruited via the internet by Islamist extremists, planned to kill dozens of people at the city's Giraffe restaurant on 22 May last year with home-made nail bombs.
The 22-year-old scceeded only in injuring himself when chemicals in one of the bombs reacted prematurely, exploiding the device in his hands as he assembed it in a lavatory cubicle.
Reilly, of Plymouth, Devon, was described by his own lawyer as the "least cunning" person ever to have been charged with terrorism offences.
Sentencing him yesterday, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith said it was only through "sheer luck and chance" that the bomb did not injure anyone else in the explosion.
He sentenced Reilly to life in prison and told him he must serve 18 years, adding: "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."
The court had previously heard that Reilly, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, converted to Islam after reading about religion on the internet.
He changed his name to Mohammad Rashid Saeed Alim in October 2004 using the names of the 9/11 bombers.
He started researching bomb-making in January 2008 and chatted online to at least two men in Pakistan whom police believe encouraged him to carry out the attack.
Reilly pleaded guilty to attempted murder and preparing an act of terrorism in October last year and was due to be sentenced the following month, but that hearing was postponed so an assessment of his mental health could be carried out.
In a suicide note read to the court yesterday, Reilly wrote: "I have not been brainwashed or indoctrinated. I am not insane." He also explained his motivation behind the attack, saying: "Everywhere Muslims are suffering at the hand of America."