12:00 AM, September 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 13, 2018

Hungarian jailed for life over 2016 Budapest bomb

A Hungarian man was sentenced to life in prison yesterday after a court found him guilty of detonating a bomb in Budapest in 2016 that seriously injured two police officers.

The Metropolitan Court in Budapest convicted 24-year-old Laszlo Gergely P. of attempted murder, misuse of explosive materials, and preparing an act of terrorism.

According to the judge, the defendant -- who must serve a minimum of 25 years behind bars and pay legal costs of 340,000 euros ($390,000) -- had no prior criminal record and acted alone in the September 24 explosion.

Investigators had called the incident "an execution attempt" on two police officers who recovered from life-threatening injuries caused by the explosion but have both suffered permanent hearing damage.

The pair had been on foot patrol in downtown Budapest when the homemade, shrapnel-packed device was detonated nearby by the defendant via remote control.

The man, who lived in a remote part of western Hungary, had given a detailed confession to investigators, but retracted his incriminating statements on the first day of the trial.

Prosecutors said he sent an email to the Interior Ministry after the attack describing how he had made the bomb, and that he wanted to capture the police officers' weapons.

In another email, he said he also planned to extort one million euros ($1.1 million) from the authorities, and to make further potentially deadly attacks.

His defence lawyer sought the man's acquittal over lack of evidence, alleged flaws in the investigation, as well as alleged flaws in the examinations of his mental health.