EXETER, England — A bombing suspect arrested after a blast in the southwest English city of Exeter on Thursday is a vulnerable Islamic convert with mental illness who was taken advantage of and radicalized, police said.
Police evacuated a large part of Exeter city center after a small explosion at the Giraffe restaurant around lunchtime.
Police identified the suspect as Nicky Reilly, 22. He suffered serious facial injuries in the blast and was receiving treatment in a hospital under police guard.
“Our investigation so far indicates that Reilly, who has a history of mental illness, has adopted the Islamic faith,” Deputy Chief Constable Tony Melville told reporters. “We believe … he was preyed upon, radicalized, and taken advantage of.”