Terror cell plotted to bomb Ministry of Sound, court is told

London's biggest nightclub, the Ministry of Sound, was discussed as a possible bombing target by British terrorists, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.

One of the members of an alleged terror cell with al-Qa'ida links said they would not be blamed for killing innocent people because the clubbers were "slags dancing around", the jury was told.

In secret tape recordings made by MI5, the Security Service, another alleged member of the group talks about blowing up a gas plant. Omar Khyam, 24, of Crawley, West Sussex, is heard apparently discussing targeting utility companies with the help of recruits with inside knowledge. But another of the alleged plotters, Jawad Akbar, 22, also of Crawley, says the central London club is a softer target for a terror attack.

The recording was made at Mr Akbar's home in Uxbridge, west London, on 22 February 2004, the jury was told. In tapes played to the court, Mr Akbar says: "What about easy stuff where you don't need no experience and nothing and you could get a job, yeah, like for example the biggest nightclub in central London where no one can even turn round and say, 'Oh they were innocent' those slags dancing around?

"If you went for the social structure where every Tom, Dick and Harry goes on a Saturday night, yeah, that would be crazy."

Mr Khyam replies: "If you get a job in a bar, yeah, or a club, say the Ministry of Sound, what are you planning to do there then?", the court heard.

Mr Akbar: "Blow the whole thing up." Mr Khyam: "That's what I'm saying."

Mr Akbar: "I think the club thing you could do, but the gas would be much harder. There's people who even get in with their searching stuff but it's only bouncers that search you."

Mr Khyam: "The explosion in the clubs, yeah, that's fine bro, that's not a problem. The training for that is available. To get them into the Ministry of Sound really isn't difficult."

Mr Akbar asks Mr Khyam if he thinks they are being bugged by the police and MI5, to which he replies he does not think so.

The Ministry of Sound was founded 15 years ago by Jamie Palumbo, son of the developer Lord Palumbo, and was Britain's first super-club. It can hold up to 1,800 people. Gary Smart, the Ministry of Sound's general manager, said in a statement read to court that 1.5 million people had visited it since it opened. He said: "If the Ministry of Sound was to be subjected to terrorist attack, then it's clear the consequences could be devastating with such a large number of people in such a confined space. The impact could result in loss of life, injury or structural damage."

Earlier, the jury heard that the alleged terrorist group had considered attacking the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

Mr Khyam, 24, his brother Shujah Mahmood, 19, Waheed Mahmood, 34, and Akbar, 22, all from Crawley, West Sussex, Salahuddin Amin, 31, from Luton, Bedfordshire, Anthony Garcia, 23, of Ilford, east London, and Nabeel Hussain, 21, of Horley, Surrey, deny conspiring to cause explosions likely to endanger life between January 2003 and March 2004. Mr Khyam, Mr Garcia and Mr Hussain also deny possessing 600kg (1,300lb) of ammonium nitrate fertiliser for terrorism.

The men were arrested in March 2004 after fertiliser was found in a depot in west London. The trial continues.

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London