Foster care home raided over bomb

Two men ar­rested, fo­cus on CCTV as threat level raised to crit­i­cal

The New Zealand Herald - - WORLD -

Armed po­lice raided the home of two re­spected foster car­ers in their hunt for the bomb fac­tory used by the Par­sons Green bomber yes­ter­day, just hours af­ter ar­rest­ing an 18-year-old man close to the port of Dover.

A sec­ond man, aged 21, was later ar­rested in Houn­slow, west Lon­don.

The de­vel­op­ments came a day af­ter com­muters fled in ter­ror af­ter a home­made bomb par­tially det­o­nated on a Dis­trict Line train, in­jur­ing 29 peo­ple. Kent po­lice de­tained the teenager close to the port of Dover on sus­pi­cion of be­ing a ter­ror­ist, de­scrib­ing it as a “sig­nif­i­cant ar­rest”.

Po­lice of­fi­cers were later seen search­ing bins close to Dover Pri­ory rail­way station a few min­utes’ walk from the port. The sus­pect was moved to a south Lon­don po­lice station.

The ar­rest lo­ca­tion, close to the busiest ferry hub in Europe, raises the prospect the sus­pect could have been try­ing to leave the coun­try. Five hours later armed po­lice ar­rived at an ad­dress in Sun­bury on Thames, south­west Lon­don, and be­gan evac­u­at­ing res­i­dents from sur­round­ing homes.

The el­derly own­ers of the Cavendish Rd prop­erty, Pene­lope and Ron­ald Jones, are a foster cou­ple who have taken in hun­dreds of young peo­ple since 1970, in­clud­ing refugees from sev­eral coun­tries. In 2009, the cou­ple were ap­pointed MBEs for ser­vices to chil­dren and fam­i­lies. The hon­our was pre­sented to them by the Queen at Buck­ing­ham Palace.

Pene­lope Jones, 71, and her hus­band, 88, said at the time: “We open our hearts to all the chil­dren. Any­body that comes to us we will do what­ever we can to help them with what­ever they need.” Their home is 17km from Par­sons Green and on the rail line to Wim­ble­don, on the Dis­trict Line.

A neigh­bour said: “Three months ago they fos­tered a lad from So­ma­lia. My mate said he’s 16, but I’d say he was older than 18 what they are re­port­ing. He’s been noth­ing but prob­lems for them — he kept run­ning away and stuff.” An­other neigh­bour said: “I am so wor­ried about Ron and Penny, they are a lovely cou­ple.”

The bomb re­port­edly con­tained the ex­plo­sive tri­ace­tone triper­ox­ide (TATP) and nails, but is thought to have only par­tially det­o­nated from in­side a bucket. There were fears the num­ber of those hurt could have been much higher had the bomb fully ex­ploded.

The train, which was bound for Edg­ware Rd, was just pulling into the station in south­west Lon­don when the de­vice det­o­nated in the rear car­riage.

Am­ber Rudd, the Home Sec­re­tary, speak­ing af­ter a meet­ing of the Gov­ern­ment’s Cobra emer­gency com­mit­tee, said: “There is no doubt that this was a se­ri­ous IED, it was good for­tune that it did so lit­tle dam­age in fact.”

As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Mark Row­ley said po­lice were “chas­ing down sus­pects”, in­di­cat­ing a po­ten­tial network of plot­ters.

The Met said it had spo­ken to 45 wit­nesses and 77 images and videos had been sent to de­tec­tives by mem­bers of the pub­lic. A key plank of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion has fo­cused on CCTV. Troops have been sent to key sites across Bri­tain to free up armed po­lice of­fi­cers af­ter the coun­try’s ter­ror threat level was raised to its high­est point. The level is at crit­i­cal, which means a fur­ther at­tack is feared to be im­mi­nent.

Pic­ture / AP

Po­lice at a home in Sun­bury on Thames.

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