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Man stuffed unlit petrol bomb into exhaust of empty diplomatic car parked near Iranian embassy

A MAN who stuffed a bottle of flammable liquid into the exhaust pipe of an Iranian diplomatic vehicle has been detained in a mental health facility.

Sam Parsa, 60, (pictured above) of High Road, Tottenham, north London, was today sentenced at the Old Bailey to a Hospital Order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

Police were alerted to a bottle poking out of the exhaust of the unoccupied vehicle parked near the Iranian Embassy in Knightsbridge by a member of the public who spotted it on September 6 2018.

They found it contained a rag soaked in a mix of petrol and diesel, which could have exploded under certain conditions.

It is not clear what motivated Parsa to commit the attempted arson, but the incident was investigated by the Met Police Counter Terrorism unit.

CRUSHED: The bottle (top) Parsa put in exhaust of car parked near embassy (above)

Through DNA, mobile phone data and CCTV analysis, officers identified Parsa as the culprit and showed that he was in the area of the embassy on the date and time of the offence.

Following further enquiries, Counter Terrorism officers arrested Parsa on November 28 2018, and he was subsequently released under investigation.

On April 7 2020, 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 found guilty of this offence on December 16 2020.

Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “Parsa’s reckless actions could have endangered lives. Following a thorough investigation by detectives, officers swiftly identified Parsa and obtained the vital evidence which proved he was at the scene.

“I would like to praise the member of public who spotted the bottle and did the right thing by reporting it to police quickly, averting a potentially dangerous situation.

“More people are now going out in public and gathering for events and social visits with the COVID-19 restrictions easing, and this is excellent news for everyone. However, there are people who may see this as an opportunity to commit crime against others.

“While people have no reason to be alarmed, it remains important that people remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police.

"Police rely on information from communities to detect and deal with crime and as this case demonstrates, your call could prevent someone from coming to harm.”

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


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