July 21 'fifth bomber' jailed for 33 years
By Matthew Moore and Duncan Gardham
Last Updated: 2:30am GMT 21/11/2007
A member of the July 21 bombing gang who “lost his nerve” at the last minute and dumped his device in a park was today jailed for 33 years.
(PHOTO: Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, left, and Muktar Said Ibrahim buying hydrogen peroxide from a cosmetics shop in Finsbury Park)
Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, a Ghanaian immigrant who came to Britain in 2003, was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions.
The court heard how – as well as being the “fifth bomber” in the failed London plot – Asiedu bought the hydrogen peroxide used in the gang's homemade explosive devices.
Sentencing, Judge Mr Justice Calvert-Smith described Asiedu as an “accomplished liar” and dismissed his claims that he knew nothing of the bombing mission until the morning of the failed attack.
“Although not one of the inner circle which no doubt planned the exact locations and ultimately the date on which the bombs would be exploded you were in other respects one of its major participants,” he said.
Asiedu told the cosmetics shops he visited across London he was a decorator and the chemical was for stripping wallpaper. Between May 5 and June 30 2005 he bought 218 litres, nearly half the amount supplied to the entire country in that time.
His name was also found on a timetable for boiling down the hydrogen peroxide to a higher concentration, although he claimed he did not take part.
“You were the central figure in the research necessary to discover the maximum concentration at which liquid hydrogen peroxide is commercially available in this country,” Mr Justice Calvert-Smith said today.
“Having made those inquiries you became the central figure too in the purchase of the quantities necessary to create the number of bombs required by your fellow conspirators.”
Asiedu dumped his rucksack bomb in Little Wormwood Scrubs park in West London after deciding against going ahead with the plot on July 21 2005.
The devices used by the other four bombers only failed to detonate on the capital's transport network because of mistakes made in calculating the ratios of their ingredients.
Asiedu's bomb was discovered two days later, and he handed himself in to police on July 26.
Four other men Muktar Ibrahim, Yassin Omar, Ramzi Mohammed and Hussain Osman – were found guilty of conspiracy to murder this summer and sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in jail but the jury failed to reach a verdict on Asiedu.
He was due to face a retrial, but earlier this month agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of conspiracy to cause explosions.
Asiedu, who has claimed to be 28 and 34 at different times since being arrested and has also used several aliases, arrived in Britain from Ghana in 2003 using a false passport in the name George Nawak Marquaye.
He said he was born into the Nabda tribe, known locally as the “Honest Fools”, and came to Britain because it had always been his dream.
He was recruited by the July 21 ringleaders, Ibrahim and Omar, at Finchley Mosque in North London, where he worked as a cleaner and odd job man, and invited to move into Omar's council flat at Curtis House in Southgate, North London.
Asiedu also become involved with a group called Tablighi Jamaat and invited to their mosque in Dewsbury, where the July 7 bombers Mohammed Sidique Kahn and Shezhad Tanweer worshipped.
Mr Justice Calvert-Smith today recommended that he be deported back to Ghana at the end of his sentence.
9 November 2007: 'Fifth bomber' could face 40 years in jail
19 January 2007: Accused: explosive was for stripping wallpaper
15 January 2007: 'Suicide bomb plot failed due to good fortune'