19-year-old Brusthom Ziamani has been convicted at the Old Bailey of hatching a plot to behead a British soldier inspired by the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.
Ziamani is unemployed and comes from Warner Road, Camberwell.
In August last year he was intercepted on a street in East London in a joint police and MI5 intelligence operation.
When they searched his rucksack they discovered he was carrying a knife, hammer and black Shahad flag.
The jury heard he told his former girlfriend earlier in the day he planned to attack and kill soldiers.
He’d been arrested earlier in the year after a police search found handwritten letters that glorified the murder of Lee Rigby and said that ‘we should do a 9/11, 7/7 and a Woolwich all in one day.’
Ziamani is believed to have converted to Islam in April 2014 and his extremist views rapidly developed over the next few months.
He published more and more extreme social media posts.
In May 2014 he posted ‘Land of democracy = Evil.’
In July 2014 he posted ‘Forget the protests, the only way to liberate Muslim lands is Jihad.’
He used his phone to visit websites researching the locations for army cadet bases across London.
It was the prosecution case that he’d told a security officer at his remand prison he planned to behead a soldier.
Ziamani denied preparing terrorist acts.
He said his Facebook postings were an attempt to fit in with the Muslim group al-Muhajiroun.
He said ‘I was ranting and raging about the situation in Muslim countries which was described in these talks. I did not believe it at all.’
He said he carried the hammer and knife because he felt at risk after leaving a credit card theft operation.
The flag was packed in case he was asked to go on a demonstration with little notice.
This was ‘not a terror tool kit.’
Commander Richard Walton of the Counter Terrorism Command said:
This case starkly illustrates one of the threats we currently face in the UK. Ziamani was an impressionable young man who became radicalised then rapidly developed an extremist, violent mindset. Over a series of months he ultimately developed a desire to carry out a terrorist attack on British soldiers. The outstanding professional work of my officers in the SO15 Counter Terrorism Command, supported by MI5, has probably prevented a horrific terrorist attack taking place on the streets of London. We continue to be trusted and supported by all communities and rely on this to defeat terrorism.
Sentencing is expected to take place on the 20th of March.