Man faces jail over bomb manual

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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A British law student cleared of plotting a terror attack following the UK’s first secret terror case faces up to 10 years in jail for possessing a bomb-making manual.

Erol Incedal, 27, broke down in tears last week as he was found not guilty after a retrial at the Old Bailey of plotting with a terrorist in Syria to either attack individuals such as former prime minister Tony Blair or carry out a “Mumbai style” outrage using a Kalashnikov.

Last year, he was convicted of possessing a bomb-making manual on a memory card at the time he was arrested in October 2013.

He will be sentenced by Mr Justice Nicol later alongside his friend Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, also 27, and from London, who admitted having an identical document.

The case became a legal first after an attempt by the Crown to hold the entire trial in secret was scuppered by a media challenge at the High Court.

It led to the defendants, previously referred to as AB and CD, being named for the first time and the controversial decision to split the trials into three parts – public, private with 10 accredited journalists present but barred from reporting, and completely secret.

Last Friday, Mr Justice Nicol heard argument for some of the evidence noted down by the 10 accredited journalists behind closed doors to be made public for the first time. H e will give his ruling this morning before sentencing the defendants.

During the public sessions of the trial, the court heard that Incedal had travelled to Syria, where he met a terrorist he knew as Ahmed who told him to do “some shit” when he went back to the UK.

After Incedal returned, the pair discussed by email doing terrorist acts during the summer of 2013, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC told the jury: “These acts they corresponded about were about the murder of a limited number of individuals; the murder of an individual of significance such as Tony Blair; and a wider ranging and indiscriminate attack using Kalashnikovs such as the one in Mumbai, where you know automatic rifles were used and a great deal of people killed and wounded.

“These plans about which they corresponded are not fanciful plans dreamt up by the prosecution – they are the real possibilities the defendant was engaged in with Ahmed.”

The court heard that Incedal accepted they were real plans but had attempted to explain away his role in them.

He had also admitted that his friend Rarmoul-Bouhadjar was given instruction on bomb-making when Ahmed was present.

The prosecution said Incedal’s plans were scuppered by police who bugged his Mercedes car after he was stopped on September 30 2013 for driving at 60mph in a 40mph zone without a licence or insurance.

In the car, they uncovered a slip of paper which had the address of Mr Blair and his QC wife on it.

Immediately following his first arrest, the Turkish-born defendant was heard on tape to complain about “pigs” to his wife and talk about going to a “Plan B”.

He said: “I made a big mistake. Some very important stuff was in the car. If they find it, I would be f*****.”

Over the next few days, the listening device also picked up Incedal singing along and commenting on violent Jihadist videos as well as talking about buying a gun and his time in war-torn Syria.

In a discussion with Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, he said that he preferred to be called a “terrorist” than an “extremist”, saying: “That’s a great word, Mounir. There’s never been a greater word than that, that’s been used to describe us.”

Armed police swooped on October 13 2013 and stopped Incedal and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar driving near Tower Bridge in the City of London.

In a search of Incedal’s family home in Unity Court, south east London, officers found notes on a “Plan A” with a check list of one-month surveillance, rent flat nearby, uniform, training – and two tennis racquets.

During the search of Incedal’s secret address in Sussex Gardens, near Paddington, police recovered the laptop which had been in the car during the first police stop.

On it, they found Skype messages and emails. In one, there was a reference to “straps”, slang for guns, and “K 1122aaa shhh” and “mo88m ssbayy style” taken to refer to “the use of Kalashnikov for an attack like they used in Mumbai in 2008”, the court heard.

An examination of his iPhone also uncovered a picture of Fieldgate Street synagogue in East London which had been taken on August 31 2013.

In his defence, Incedal, a married father-of-two, denied that he had been planning a terror attack with others.

He explained that he had been living off student loans and was struggling to provide for his family at the time so had been considering schemes to make money, including a failed bid to open a Halal butcher’s shop.

Incedal has been in custody since his arrest in 2013 but he could still face a lengthy jail term as the maximum sentence for possession the bomb-making document is 10 years.

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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