London teenager Brusthom Ziamani has been jailed for 22 years at the Old Bailey for planning to behead a British soldier in the capital after being inspired by the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
The 19 year old was intercepted in an east London street carrying a knife and hammer in a rucksack.
He’d gone online to research the locations of army cadet bases in the Lewisham and Greenwich areas.
Judge Timothy Pontius observed:
A realistic and sensible assessment of the whole of the evidence leads inescapably to the conclusion that this defendant, had he not by sheer good fortune been spotted and stopped by the police on the street in east London, would have carried out the intention he had so graphically expressed to his ex-girlfriend just a few hours before.
When showing his former girlfriend his terrorism toolkit he had described Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebolajo as a ‘legend.’
His lawyer, Naeem Mian, explained that he was a young man who while destitute had been groomed and radicalised by an extremist group in such a short period of time.
The Old Bailey heard that Ziamani was born in London to Congolese parents.
His mother worked as a nursery nurse and his father was a psychiatric nurse.
He said he first became interested in Islam at the age of 15 through rap music and decided to convert again in the months before his arrests.
During that time, he went to the Camberwell Mosque, split up with his girlfriend and wore an Islamic robe but tucked it into his trousers when he went home to stop his Jehovah’s Witness parents finding out.
After his conviction, Commander Richard Walton, from 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.
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