Briton given life term for making bomb that killed U.S. soldier in Iraq

Bomb-maker gets life sentence for U.S. soldier's death
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Bomb-maker gets life sentence for U.S. soldier's death 02:09

Story highlights

  • Anis Sardar helped make the roadside bomb that killed Sgt. 1st Class Randy Johnson, 34
  • He was linked to plot through fingerprints found by the FBI on tape used in making bombs

London (CNN)Fingerprints left on sticky tape used in the making of a bomb led Friday to a life sentence for a London taxi driver for the 2007 murder of a U.S. soldier in Iraq.

With the help of that evidence, a UK court ruled that Sgt. 1st Class Randy Johnson, 34, was killed by a roadside explosive device that the defendant, Anis Sardar, helped make.
    Sardar -- convicted Thursday at London's Woolwich Crown Court -- will serve a minimum sentence of 38 years in prison for the murder.
    He was also given life, with a minimum term of 25 years, for a second charge of conspiracy to murder, to run concurrently.
    Sardar was linked to the bomb plot after the 2007 murder following a painstaking investigation involving analysis of the devices in an FBI lab. When anti-terrorist police raided his home in Wembley, in northwest London, in September, they found a bomb-making manual written in Arabic.
    He originally denied any involvement in making the bombs and insisted he was studying Arabic in Damascus, Syria, when the devices were built.
    But the bomb that killed Johnson bore the fingerprint of Sardar's accomplice, Sajjad Adnan, whose whereabouts are not known. And eventually Sardar, whose fingerprints were found on tape pulled from two other bombs, admitted helping Adnan make explosive devices in Iraq.

    Judge: Sardar's defense defied logic

    The taxi driver, a University of Westminster dropout, told jurors he was in a "lawless war zone" and only wanted to defend fellow Sunni Muslims against attacks from Shia militia forces. He maintained that the real culprits were former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former President George W. Bush.
    Anis Sardar
    But the prosecution said Sardar was an expert bomb-maker who planned to slaughter coalition forces with a series of improvised explosive devices planted near Baghdad in 2007.
    Sentencing Sardar to life in prison, the judge said the defendant's explanations for his actions defied logic and rejected his claim he was acting from humanitarian motives.
    He also rejected Sardar's argument that the bombs were meant to protect Sunni villages from Shia militia groups.
    The judge said he believed that the bombs recovered were in the sector that the Americans were patrolling. There was evidence that patrols were engaging with locals to try to gain intelligence on insurgents and that Sardar was aware of U.S. activities in the area, he said.
    The devices had pressure plates that were designed to be activated by heavy vehicles such as those used by the Americans, Globe added.

    'Father of the platoon'

    In the course of the trial, evidence was heard from two Americans who were part of the bomb disposal squad stationed at Camp Liberty, a military base in Baghdad.
    One said he dealt with 150 improvised explosive devices on his tour and the other with 300. There were between four and six bombs made in a similar way to the one that killed Johnson, he said. They were sturdily made, and the one that killed Johnson packed an explosive punch equivalent to a mortar round.
    The judge cited a report from Johnson's commanding officer, Maj. Eric Adams, who said he had been "the father of the platoon" and said it was "the saddest irony" that he had been killed.
    Johnson, who had two children, was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.