Bomb suspect ‘won £500 in online poker’

A 19-year-old student won £500 playing poker the night before he allegedly placed a suspect device on the London Underground.

Damon Smith, described by neighbours as a shy “mummy’s boy”, is thought to have been on his way to classes at London Metropolitan University in Holloway Road, north London, when he was tasered while being arrested last Friday.

Friends yesterday expressed surprise that he was connected with the alleged Tube bomb plot. One said that he was just a “bog standard lad”.

Mr Smith, who moved from Devon to London earlier this year, was still being questioned last night on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorism. Police patrols were stepped up on the transport network after a suspect device was found on a train in Greenwich, southeast London, on Thursday morning.

Neighbours said he told them he had won £500 playing poker online on Wednesday night, the day before the device was allegedly planted.

Mr Smith had only recently started at the university. Friends said that his divorced mother had moved to London with him last May to assist because he had learning difficulties.

Their two-bedroom home in Rotherhithe, southeast London, was still being searched by police yesterday. Officers, who arrived on Friday, dug up part of the small back garden.

Westminster magistrates’ court granted a warrant for the suspect to be detained until Friday.

A London Metropolitan University official confirmed that Mr Smith had joined the institution three weeks ago.