Exeter restaurant bomber ‘vulnerable Islamic convert with mental illness'

23 May 2008 by
Exeter restaurant bomber ‘vulnerable Islamic convert with mental illness'

The man arrested on suspicion of bombing a restaurant in Exeter is a "vulnerable Islamic convert with a mental illness", local police has said.

Devon and Cornwall Police evacuated large parts of Exeter city centre yesterday afternoon, after an explosion at the Giraffe restaurant in the Princesshay shopping mall.

Police has now identified the suspect as 22-year-old Nicky Reilly, who suffered serious facial injuries in the blast and was receiving treatment in a hospital under police guard. The bomb was a mix of chemicals and nails.

Detectives said he suffered serious, but not life-threatening, injuries, and was unlikely to be well enough to be properly questioned until next week.

"Our investigation so far indicates that Reilly, who has a history of mental illness, has adopted the Islamic faith," deputy chief constable Tony Melville told reporters. "We believe he was preyed upon, radicalised, and taken advantage of."

Police said they were investigating and it did not appear to be part of a bigger plot. Officers searched a property in Plymouth in connection with the investigation, police said.

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By Kerstin Kühn

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