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Man convicted of attempted arson close to embassy

News   •   Dec 17, 2020 06:30 GMT

[Convicted: Sam Parsa]

A man who placed a bottle of flammable liquid in the exhaust pipe of an Iranian diplomatic vehicle was convicted at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, 16 December, thanks to the alertness of a member of the public who spotted the device.

Sam Parsa, 60 (11.11.60), of High Road, Tottenham, N15 was found guilty of one count of attempted arson with intent to endanger life, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981.

Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “I am pleased with this conviction; Sam Parsa carried out a very reckless act which could have endangered lives.

“Thanks to the thorough investigation of detectives, we swiftly identified Parsa as the culprit and seized the vital evidence which proved he was at the scene. 

“I would also like to praise the vigilance of the member of public who spotted the dangerous bottle in the car’s exhaust pipe and instantly informed police, enabling us to quickly resolve a potentially dangerous situation. 

“Police also rely on information from the public and I urge everyone to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious at all to police.”

On 6 September 2018, a member of the public noticed a plastic bottle protruding from the exhaust pipe of an unattended Iranian diplomatic vehicle parked near the Iranian Embassy in Knightsbridge and instantly informed police. Territorial Support Group officers attended and retrieved the bottle. They found it to contain a rag soaked in a mix of petrol and diesel.

Officers from the Counter Terrorism Command carried out a thorough investigation and through an analysis of DNA, mobile phone data and CCTV, identified Sam Parsa as the culprit and showed that he was in the vicinity of the embassy on the date and time of offence.

Following further extensive investigation, Counter Terrorism officers arrested Parsa on 28 November 2018. A search warrant was executed at his home address where digital media devices were seized. 

He was then released under investigation.

On Tuesday, 7 April, Parsa was charged by postal requisition with attempted arson with intent to endanger life, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981. He was bailed to the Old Bailey on Monday, 7 December. 

Parsa has been remanded into custody and will appear at the same court for sentencing, scheduled for 25 January 2021. 

+ You can report any suspicious behaviour or activity that you think could be terrorist-related via the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) website or alternatively, call police in confidence on 0800 789 321.