An "ISIS fanatic" who abused his position at a mosque to train young boys to attack police officers has been jailed for life.
Umar Ahmed Haque was in the early stages of planning a simultaneous terror attacks on Heathrow Airport , Westfield London, Parliament Square, foreign embassies and City banks before he was snared by the authorities.
Haque, 25 of east London was an administrator at Essex Islamic Academy in Barking, where he tried to recruit 55 boys aged 11-14 to his "death squad" and making them re-enact attacks on police officers.
Haque, who was given a life sentence with a minimum sentence of 25 years at the Old Bailey on Tuesday (March 27), also showed the boys violent, extremist propaganda videos.
Inspired by the Westminster Bridge attack, Haque had planned to use a knife and gun in his attacks, which would have hit up to 30 high profile targets in the capital, with the help of a "death squad" of boys.
Haque boasted to the children about his links to ISIS and made them take an oath of secrecy, saying "whatever they spoke about in the mosque must stay in the mosque".
He warned them if they mentioned it outside they would "suffer after death" and go to hell, or their homes would burn down.
However, a joint MI5 and Metropolitan Police investigation led to Haque's arrest in May 2017, and a jury convicted him of two counts of preparation of a terrorist act and one count of collecting information useful to terrorism on March 2.
He had already pleaded guilty to one count of dissemination of terrorist publications and three counts of collection of information useful to terrorism.
The mosque administrator had been known to counter-terror police after he had attempted to fly from Heathrow Airport to Turkey in April 2016.
Although there was no evidence to charge him, his phone contained searches for terrorist attacks and executions, and his passport was revoked by the Home Office.
Muhammad Abid, 27, also of east London, acted as Haque's confidante as the plan was being developed, but made no attempt to report him and was found guilty of one count of having information about acts of terrorism and jailed for four years and three months.
In a five-hour phone conversation between the friends, Haque told Abid that he believed the public should be "annihilated" and that he had already radicalised 16 children at the mosque in Barking.
The children were given safeguarding support, and 35 of them have been assessed as requiring longer-term support.
Other staff at the mosque in Ripple Road, were unaware of Haque's intentions or actions.
Another friend of Haque, 19-year-old Abuthaher Mamun, also of east London, was found guilty by the jury of one count of preparation of terrorist acts and jailed for 12 years, with one year on extended license.
Mamun agreed to help raise funds for the attack by investing more than £900 into online trading companies with the hopes to afford a vehicle and to pay for motor insurance.
Mamus was also planning to take driving lessons so that he could teach members of Haque's "army" to drive.
He had made a cash deposit of £1,090 from a Post Office to his HSBC bank account and the pair had also discussed using bitcoin.
As police investigated Haque, they discovered that his neighbour Nadeem Patel, 26, had an illegal Walther P99 handgun at his home in Forest Gate.
The gun was capable of firing blanks, tear gas or pepper spray, and Patel was jailed for 16 months on March 2.
Sue Hemming from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The prosecution was able to show that by early 2017, Umar Haque had determined to carry out a terror attack in this country.
"He also used his position of trust to try and convert vulnerable children to his extremist cause and groom them to be involved in future activity. Six of them bravely gave evidence in this case.
“Haque’s ultimate aim was to kill as many innocent people as possible, regardless of their religion, in order to advance the extremist ideology of Daesh.
"Thankfully he failed and along with the others he must now face the consequences of his actions.”
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, said: “I welcome today’s sentences, which have ensured that three men complicit in a plot to radicalise vulnerable young children and use them to attack businesses and communities in London are now in prison.
“Haque was a dangerous man who was inspired by attacks in Europe and Westminster. He wanted to orchestrate numerous attacks at once, using guns, knives, bombs and large cars to kill innocent people.
"We recovered a number of exercise books from his home and it was evident from his notes that his plan was a long-term one.
"He intended to execute his plan years later, by which time he anticipated he would have trained and acquired an army of soldiers, including children.
"When specially trained officers interviewed the children, they described being shown by Haque horrific videos of extreme terrorist violence including executions.
"They told police how Haque made them roleplay terrorists and police officers, with the children acting as terrorists being made to stab the 'police officers' to death.
"The children were paralysed by fear of Haque, who they understood to have connections to terrorists and who essentially told them that a violent fate would befall them if they told anyone what he was doing. They were too afraid to confide in anyone.
"It's crucial that the police, partners and communities do all they can to identify where young and vulnerable people are being radicalised and I urge anyone with concerns that this is happening to report it confidentially to police."
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.
You can set up your app to see all the latest news and events from your area, plus receive push notifications for breaking news.