Parsons Green suspect enters not guilty plea at Old Bailey

The Parsons Green bombing suspect has pleaded not guilty in court today.

Ahmed Hassan, from Sunbury, Surrey, allegedly built a homemade bomb packed with knives, screws, and metal shrapnel, and placed it on a train at Parsons Green Tube station, in South-West London.

The device partially exploded and injured 30 people on September 15 last year.

The 18-year-old appeared at the Old Bailey via a video link from Belmarsh prison earlier and has been reprimanded in custody until a two-week trial which is due to begin on March 5.

It has been reported that Mr Hassan arrived in the UK from Iraq in 2015, claiming to be an orphan, and began living in foster care.

The news has prompted a debate on Twitter, with many people criticising the move of many MPs to continue to allow child orphans to enter the UK if they have extended family here.

Nigel Farage retweeted an article which described Mr Hassan as: an “orphan refugee, who had travelled across Europe to get to the so-called Jungle camp at Calais. As an unaccompanied child he was allowed entry … after being processed through a migrant centre in Kent.”

Today, Theresa May met French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss border agreement ‘Le Touquet’ – a deal that means the UK spends £44.5m to keep British border guards on French soil after Brexit, as well as the Prime Minister agreeing to take in more child migrants.

On a visit to Calais yesterday, President Macron promised there would be no repeat of the so-called ‘Jungle’ migrant camp, which was demolished in October 2016.

Katie Hopkins tweeted a BBC London Newsroom headline and image of Mr Hassan, alongside a tweet from Labour and Co-op MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy, who supported child migrants coming to the UK. In the tweet Creasy said she felt “sick” about the number of child refugees “still sleeping in mud in Calais”.

Hopkins’ response was: “one of your migrant children in the mud. And you want to welcome more.”
Many on twitter appeared to agree with Hopkins, whilst many pointed out that terror attacks are what the children are fleeing from.

Speaking to the Guardian in December, Mike Penrose, Executive Director of UNICEF UK, said: “We have a renowned reputation for protecting the world’s most vulnerable children. Yet at the moment our law fails to align with the realities they face, ones that leave them orphaned or separated from their parents.”

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