A radicalised Bradford teenager with ‘chilling’ extremist views has been detained for planning to travel to Syria to fight with the so-called Islamic State.
The Old Bailey heard the only reason British-born 19-year-old Syed Choudhury, who admitted to engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist act, did not go was because he could not find someone to travel with.
Originally from Bradford, Choudhury was living with his aunt in Cardiff and attending the Cardiff and Vale College.
The court heard how in July 2014, Choudhury took part in a demonstration in Cardiff protesting about the conflict in Gaza.
He carried a banner proclaiming his support for Islamic State, which brought him to the attention of anti-terrorism officers and was arrested 16th November after being spotted by a local anti-terror officer.
He was due to go on trial on Wednesday 8th July at the Old Bailey, but changed his plea after the jury had been sworn in.
Abdul Iqbal QC, defending, said the evidence showed Choudhury’s enthusiasm to travel to Turkey or Syria, but said that Choudhury had not got further than making inquiries.
“There are no direct links with anyone in the area of Turkey or Syria who could assist him,” he said.
“Naivety, immaturity and lack of insight are the hallmarks of his character,” Mr Iqbal said.
But while in custody, he had earlier spoke about bringing Sharia Law to the UK and said he dreamed of dying fighting for IS.
“The bluntness of what you said on that occasion is chilling. It reveals your dangerousness,” Judge Peter Rook QC, said.
“However I do accept you are immature. You are impression-able to indoctrination.
“You now say ‘I’m lucky I came to prison, I’m lucky I got stopped’.
“You have shown some awareness of how misguided your earlier extremist position was.”
Following the sentence, South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Holland Police said: “Cardiff is a multi-cultural city and local policing teams, together with partner agencies, work hard to ensure that the people who live there can do so in a safe and peaceful environment.
“It is therefore vital that those who wish to support violent and murderous actions against others are identified both through rigorous policing and the support of communities who can report suspicious actions and behaviour.”
The court heard Choudhury had been radicalised by people he regarded as elders after he left home to study in Cardiff.
He will serve three years, four months at a young offenders’ institution.