Parsons Green bombing: police release two men without charge

Man thought to be Yahyah Farroukh and man arrested in south Wales released as officers search Thornton Heath house.

Two people arrested in connection with the Parsons Green terrorist attack have been released from custody with no further action, Scotland Yard has said.

A 21-year-old man understood to be Yahyah Farroukh, who was arrested in Hounslow, west London on Saturday, and a 48-year-old man arrested in Newport, south Wales on Wednesday – were released as police searched a property in south London after arresting a sixth person in connection with the tube bombing - writes

The Thornton Heath house was cordoned off on Thursday morning with a police car outside and officers standing guard following the arrest of a 17-year-old boy shortly after midnight. Officers arriving at the scene carried equipment including garden rakes. Some appeared to be trying to gain access to an overgrown area at the rear of the property.

A man in a forensic suit was seen entering the property, which neighbours said had been a halfway house or hostel for young people.

One neighbour, Paula, 43, who declined to give her surname, said she witnessed the beginning of the raid. “I just heard banging, woke up, looked through my window and there were loads of police officers out here,” she said. “My husband came out to see if there was any concern. They said there wasn’t any concern, they were just acting on intelligence. I didn’t see them arresting anyone.”

Describing the officers involved, she said: “Some were in suits, some were in uniforms ... They looked like detectives.”

Paula said police had knocked the door off its hinges and she had seen it lying on the ground, but the door looked intact on Thursday morning.

“I didn’t see much more; I just heard the loud noise. I thought they were fighting originally,” she said.

The south London property was registered as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) with Croydon council. A spokesman for the council said the house was being rented by Lambeth council, which is also in south London.

HMOs can be used to house homeless people, unaccompanied minors and asylum seekers.

The Thornton Heath house was bought by a company called 35BR Ltd for £650,000 in 2013. According to Companies House documents, the company has three directors, including Gill Fielding, who has appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire and as a business expert on The Apprentice – You’re Fired.

35BR is owned by a second company, 136 CR Ltd, which has been managed by Fielding’s C&M Wealth Group since 2015. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

According to documents on Croydon council’s website, the property owners were ordered to remove litter from the property under environmental regulations in 2014.

Pamela Emanuel, 54, whose home overlooks the address where the suspect was arrested, said the house was occupied by recent immigrants to the UK. Six young men lived there at any one time, she said. The most recent set had been there for about four months.

“They were not menacing, they were OK,” she said. “They were the best neighbours we’ve had [in that address] since it’s been there.”

The residents were young Middle Eastern men aged between 17 and 25, she said. “They were young, you could tell by the way that they behaved. They never gave any trouble; they were friendly enough.” She said the property had previously housed care leavers, who were regularly in trouble with the police.

Paula backed up Emanuel’s account of the residents. “There’s different people that live there. I don’t know them; never had any problems with them before. I’ve never seen any women in there, mostly just young boys. They do look young, but why they are living there on their own, I don’t know,” she said.

“There is no foster parent, I’ve never seen any adult foster parents. Usually people come and do checks, I don’t know if they are social services. I think there’s about six rooms over there; most of the time it’s full. They last for six months and then they go, I think individually. It’s quite shocking that this has happened.”

A 28-year-old woman whose home faces the address said she was not particularly surprised to see it raided. “The house has been trouble in and out for a while,” she said.

“They raided the house a couple of years ago with armed police and took away two boys. I’ve lived here nine years and there’s probably been an incident with police every year, this one probably being the biggest.”

She said the type of difficulties previously concerning the house had been “fights, and I don’t really know the details, drugs ... Nothing, from what I know, about terror.”

She said she had not heard the raid taking place. “It must have been a very discreet raid, because the raid I heard two years ago, I heard that and I heard them thumping the door,” the woman said.

Phil Burt, 67, who has lived on the opposite side of the street for 40 years, said he heard “enormous shouts” at about midnight. He said the shouting was so loud it made at least three dogs in the area bark, but was unsure as to whether or not it came from police.

There are now four men in custody as investigations into the bombing continue. Two men aged 25 and 30 were arrested in Newport, south Wales, and an 18-year-old was arrested in Dover.

Detectives have been given until Saturday to continue questioning the 18-year-old.

The three men and the 17-year-old boy were being detained at a police station in south London, Scotland Yard said.

The 25-year-old arrested in Newport is understood to be a Kurdish painter and decorator known as Bilal to neighbours and friends who uses a Facebook account with the profile name Mahdi Rahimi.

He is believed to have arrived in the UK around eight years ago and has been described as hard-working, friendly and helpful.

Police were continuing to search a property in the street where Bilal lived and a terraced house close to the city centre believed to house refugees. The two men, aged 30 and 48, were arrested there.

The attack at Parsons Green happened last Friday during rush hour on a London underground train, shortly after it pulled into the west London station. A bomb built inside a plastic bucket held in a Lidl bag partly detonated. Experts say photographs suggest the initiating charge had failed to detonate the main explosives.

The train was packed with commuters and schoolchildren. Thirty people were injured. Some sustained flash burns and others minor wounds as people scrambled to escape.

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