Briton: my fingerprints on bombs

Published: Wednesday 29th April 2015 by The News Editor

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A British man on trial for making bombs that allegedly killed a US soldier in Iraq has admitted that fingerprints found on IEDs linked to the case are his.

Anis Abid Sardar, 38, of Wembley, north west London, is accused of making bombs in Syria that were planted on the road west out of Baghdad throughout 2007.

One of them is said to have caused the death of 34-year-old Sergeant First Class Randy Johnson, of 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, when it hit the armoured vehicle he was travelling in on September 27 2007.

During the opening of his trial yesterday the jury of seven women and five men heard that his finger marks were found on two of four devices linked to the case, but that he had denied any involvement in bomb-making.

But his lawyer, Henry Blaxland QC, told them today: “Can I just make it clear, Mr Sardar accepts the finger marks attributed to him… are his.”

Sardar’s fingerprints were not found on the device that killed Sgt Johnson, but the prosecution say that he was part of the team that built it.

The court heard that Sgt Johnson told his comrades “don’t let me die here” after being fatally injured by an explosion on the road between the Iraqi capital and the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

Private Elroy Brooks, one of the five US personnel on board the Stryker eight-wheel armoured vehicle role, said that when the blast went off he was blown about 15 metres outside the vehicle.

When he went back into the vehicle he saw that the interior was covered in battery acid and dust, and that Sgt Johnson was seriously wounded.

He said: “The IED had gone off directly under him so when I lifted him it was like there was only half of him left.

“His torso was ripped and his left leg was pretty much just attached by the skin and the rest had been blown off. His eyes were filled with dirt and he had holes all over the place.”

Describing the soldier’s last moments, he added: “Sgt Johnson was unconscious. We all thought he was dead.

“He then came to and freaked out. He said ‘don’t let me die here’, that was all he said he said, he then passed out. I think he died then.”

The blast also left Mark Aggers, who was serving as a gunner on the Stryker, with serious shrapnel wounds.

Sardar denies murder, conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion.

Pte Brooks and another two men in the vehicle – Staff Sergeant Joshua Lord and driver Luke Stinson – suffered concussions following the blast.

The explosion left a breach in the Stryker vehicle of about a foot and half in diameter and one of its wheels had been blown 100ft down the road, the court heard.

Sgt Lord, who was serving as a specialist medic, said the team been deployed as part of a three-vehicle convoy to facilitate or deny movement on the roads around Baghdad.

Giving evidence in full uniform, Sgt Lord – known to his comrades as Doc – said that he was knocked unconscious by the explosion.

He said: “Initially I wasn’t exactly sure what had happened. I heard a loud bang, like metal on metal.

“I initially didn’t have any clue what had happened, I didn’t know if we had hit something.”

The soldier explained that when he came to and looked out of the vehicle he could see could see a “long strip covered in packing tape”, which Pte Brooks told him was an IED.

He realised that Sgt Johnson had suffered severe blast injuries to both legs, hips, abdomen and groin and went about attending him.

Sgt Lord said that although his medical kit contained morphine for pain relief he did not use it because he was “concerned about the amount of blood Sgt Johnson had lost”.

Prosecutor Max Hill QC asked the soldier: “He said words to the effect of ‘make me comfortable’?”

“Yes sir, those were the last words that he said,” Sgt Lord replied.

An Apache helicopter arrived 45 minutes later but Sgt Johnson had already died, the court heard.

Answering questions from Mr Blaxland, Sgt Lord said that the area where the team were deployed had not been patrolled for some while.

Published: Wednesday 29th April 2015 by The News Editor

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