Two men from west London who hatched a plot to kill members of the police, military or public have been jailed for conspiracy to commit terrorism.
Tarik Hassane, from Ladbroke Grove , and Suhaib Majeed, from Marylebone, were each given life sentences, and told they must spend a minimum of 21 and 20 years behind bars respectively.
They has been convicted of conspiring to commit a terrorist murder on March 23 . Two other men, Nyall Hamlett, from Paddington and Nathan Cuffy, from Notting Hill , were also jailed for six-and-a-half years and 11 years respectively after previously pleading guilty to firearms offences.
They had been found not guilty of conspiring to commit a terrorist murder.
An Old Bailey trial had heard they were caught following an investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, which found evidence that 22-year-old Hassane, from Princess Alice House in Dalgarno Way was the leader of the group.
A court had earlier been told he had pledged an oath of allegiance to Islamic State on July 9, 2014, and was determined to carry out a terrorist attack in the UK.
Along with close friend Majeed, 21 and from Cherwell House in Church Street Estate, they researched and planned their attack using coded communications.
The Old Bailey heard that 25-year-old Hamlett, from Great Western Road was the conduit, and Cuffy, 26 and from Sandbourne House in Dartmouth Close, the armourer who supplied the gun from the stash of five firearms he had hidden in his house.
Firearms, pistol, silencer and ammunition discovered
Majeed, Hamlet and Cuffy were arrested between September 24 and 26 in 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 a few days later on September 30 still intent on his attack plan.
He continued online research of Shepherd's Bush Police Station and the Parachute Regiment Territorial Army (TA) Centre in White City using Google Maps. He was arrested on October 7 2014.
Commander Dean Haydon, the head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “The lengthy sentences handed down today reflect the seriousness of this terrorist plot. In this case terrorists used local criminals to acquire firearms and ammunition to commit a terrorist attack on the streets of London targeting the police, military or members of the public by means of a drive by shooting.
“I want to pay tribute to the security and intelligence agencies, counter terrorism officers, and the Trident and Area Crime Command who worked together to intervene early to disrupt the plot and protect the public from any acts of terrorism.”
Full extent of planned plot revealed
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.
Graphic images of beheadings
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.
Hassane and Majeed will be also subject to a terrorist notification period of 30 years under the Terrorist Act 2008 upon their release from prison.