September 10, 2019
An Islamic State fan plotted a “lone wolf” attack on the British army or police using a specially-adapted drone, knives, axes and Japanese “Ninja eggs”, a court has heard.
Hisham Muhammad, 25, amassed an array of weapons at his three-bedroom rented terrace in Whitefield, Bury, including a tomahawk, a machete and bear-claws, the Old Bailey was told.
He had also set about making a prototype of a drone attachment using lollipop sticks to drop a projectile or “harmful” device on his target, it was claimed.
He had allegedly researched police and army bases, including Castle Armoury Barracks in Bury, Greater Manchester, which he visited before his arrest last June.
The Bermudan national, who moved to Britain in 2013, had allegedly helped fund his activities with money from a bogus online escort agency scam.
He was caught after his landlord spotted “suspicious” items at the defendant’s home including knives, a tub of wires and a soldering iron, the court heard.
Jurors were told his landlord had visited the property after Muhammad and his cousin Faisal Abu Ahmad, 24, had fallen behind with their rent.
In a search, police uncovered the stash of weapons as well as lollipop sticks attached to an electrical component with black tape and various wires, jurors heard.
Some of the components allegedly matched sketches and detailed notes for adapting a drone.
Muhammad’s interest in the devices dated back to late 2017 or early 2018 when he had called next door to retrieve a small drone from his neighbour’s back garden, jurors heard.
Officers also seized two painted eggs containing crushed chilli seeds and shards of glass which were described as Japanese “ninja eggs”.
Prosecutor Anne Whyte QC said Muhammad had steeped himself in “barbarous” Islamic State propaganda as he planned a “lone wolf” attack in Britain.
An examination of Muhammad’s tablet computer revealed an IS video entitled My Revenge had been watched eight times between May 21 and May 30 last year.
Ms Whyte said the video in French justified and encouraged “lone wolf attacks” in France and Europe, and included gruesome footage of executions.
The defendant had trawled the internet for postcodes in Westminster and central Manchester, knives, drones and British armed police, jurors heard.
On May 21 last year, he allegedly researched suicide belts, machetes and Victoria train station which had been part of the scene of the Manchester Arena terror attack a year before.
Two days later, Muhammad visited an army recruitment event in Bury town centre and the nearby Castle Armoury Barracks where expressed an interest in joining up, jurors were told.
It was claimed the defendant went on to Google “weak points of the human body for assault” as well as armed police in UK and Manchester.
In a police interview, Muhammad denied planning an attack, saying he had a “gift from god for making things and liked to innovate”.
The court heard he had cast doubt that the Manchester Arena bombing and Westminster Bridge attack had happened and questioned whether video of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killing was real.
Ms Whyte told jurors: “We allege Hisham Muhammad intended to commit an act of terrorism – he plainly considered and researched the use of a drone to drop some sort of harmful device.
“That, we say, was always going to present technical challenges and he combined an anticipated use of a drone with plans to use knives or other bladed items in order to stab human targets.
“Whatever his final approach to an adapted drone, by the time of his arrest, he had plainly resolved to commit some sort of knife attack instead.”
Muhammad of Victoria Avenue, Whitefield, Bury, denies engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.
Abu Ahmad, of the same address, has pleaded not guilty to failing to alert authorities of the alleged attack plan.
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Categories: Hisham Muhammad, Lee Rigby, Manchester Arena, News