Failure of crude ‘fairy light’ device saved dozens of lives
THE ‘fairy light’ bucket bomb could have massacred dozens had it worked properly.
But as in some previous attacks only the detonator blew up and not the main charge. Crudely constructed in a white builder’s tub inside a Lidl coolbag, it was rigged with a detonator made from Christmas tree lights modified to explode.
Islamic State has encouraged followers to use this technique in online bomb guides.
The device also had a timer – meaning the bomber planned to flee rather than die with his victims.
Some sources suggested it was an incendiary device, intended to produce a massive and deadly blast of flame, rather than a shrapnel bomb filled with nails or bolts, as was the case at Manchester Arena in May.
Explosives expert Dr Sidney Alford said: ‘The fact that an initial bang was heard but the bomb did not even shatter the plastic bucket it was contained in suggests to me this could have been hydrogen peroxide.’
Chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon said: ‘It could be an incendiary device with some sort of detonator in a big white plastic bucket, perhaps with some sort of chemical like ammonia nitrate, fertiliser bomb to cause an explosion.’
He said that the attack looked like ‘classic jihadi terrorism’ and the bomb could have been devastating had it worked.
The failure of the Parsons Green bomb gives detectives a forensics goldmine. A set of fingerprints was quickly recovered, it is understood, and analysts have been combing over every aspect of the IED’s design.