Four men have been jailed for their parts in a conspiracy to commit a terrorist murder following an investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.
Medical student Tarik Hassane, 22, of Princess Alice House, Dalgarno Way, W10, and Suhaib Majeed, 22, of Cherwell House, Church Street Estate, NW8, were convicted of conspiring to commit a terrorist murder on Wednesday 23rd March.
They intended to target police, military or members of the public and then make their escape on a moped.
Two other men, Nyall Hamlett, 25, of Hanwell House, Great Western Road, W2 and Nathan Cuffy, 26, of Sandbourne House, Dartmouth Close, W11 pleaded guilty to firearms offences. They were found not guilty of conspiring to commit a terrorist murder.
The evidence uncovered by the Counter Terrorism Command’s investigation showed that Hassane was the leader of the group, and having pledged an oath of allegiance to IS on 9th July 2014, was determined to carry out a terrorist attack in the UK.
Majeed and Hassane – who are close friends – were central figures in the plot, researching and planning their attack using coded communications. The court heard that Hamlett was the conduit, and Cuffy the armourer who supplied the gun from the stash of five firearms he had hidden in his house.
Majeed, Hamlet and Cuffy were arrested between 24th and 26th September 2014. During these arrests and searches of their home addresses, police recovered five firearms and ammunition. One of these firearms, a Baikal pistol, had both a silencer and ammunition and was intended for use in the plot.
Hassane, a medical student known to his friends as ‘The Surgeon’ was studying in the Sudan when his accomplices were arrested, but returned home to the UK on 30th September 2014, still intent on his attack plan. He continued to conduct online research of Shepherds Bush Police Station and the Parachute Regiment Territorial Army (TA) Centre in White City using Google Maps. He was arrested on 7th October 2014.
Following the arrests, police uncovered the full extent of the planned plot.
Searches of addresses led to officers seizing hundreds of communication and storage devices. Extensive examination of these identified key devices that included two iPads, a memory card, three USB sticks, two laptops, an external hard drive and seven phones. These showed the group had been using various social media platforms across the devices with applications specifically downloaded to avoid detection.
Majeed downloaded encrypted software to talk to extremist groups overseas and whilst police have never confirmed where the person was, officers do know they were in the same time zone as Syria. Evidence downloaded from these devices graphically demonstrated the extreme mindset of Hassane and Majeed. They had shared between them a Fatwa issued by Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, a leading member of IS, encouraging the murder of soldiers, police, security and intelligence agents.
There were also many graphic images of beheadings and material in support of IS. These all provided valuable evidence of both the planning and the motivation of the plot which was put before the court.
The men were sufficiently advanced in their plans that prior to their arrest they had acquired a handgun, a silencer and ammunition and had plans to get a moped and identify somewhere to store them before and following the attack.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command (SO15), said:”Today’s convictions (22nd April 2016) are the result of an intensive joint investigation by my command, the security services and the Met’s Trident and Area Crime Command.
“Our priority as always was ensuring the public’s safety by preventing these four very dangerous men, two of whom intended to carry out a terrorist atrocity in London.
“They were planning to target police or military personnel before escaping on a moped, but members of the public also could have been victims had their plans not been thwarted.
“During this investigation, my officers worked closely with colleagues from Trident resulting in five guns, all with ammunition, being taken out of circulation.
“Subsequently, they worked hard with the Crown Prosecution Service to gather and present the best possible evidence for court, ensuring these men were taken off the streets and could no longer pose a risk to public safety.”
Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “This is an excellent conviction as a result of a true partnership between the Security Service, Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command and the Crown Prosecution Service. It has prevented a murderous plot.
“I am particularly proud of our professionals from across the Met, including investigators, digital evidence experts and firearms officers who made the arrests. We all need their attention to detail and courage and must never take them for granted.”
A date for sentencing is yet to be set.