A former Pizza Hut waiter could face up to 10 years in prison after being convicted under the Terrorism Act 2000.
It was feared Abu Baker Mansha, 21, from south-east London, was targeting Corporal Mark Byles, 34, after reading a newspaper report on his killing of three rebels in Iraq. Special Branch detectives raided Mansha's flat in Thamesmead on 24 March. In a bag behind the living room sofa, they found a pistol and a copy of The Sun dated 8 December 2004 with a story focusing on the actions of Cpl Byles.
Mansha was convicted of possessing a document containing information likely to be useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism after a two-week trial at Southwark Crown Court.
Mansha had underlined key sections in the article and scrawled a Portsmouth address under the word "Hero" on a separate piece of paper. Cpl Byles, of the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, was not staying at that address at the time.
Mansha had earlier claimed to have bought "for fun" the pistol found by the police. DVDs with anti-Western propaganda, including the beheading of the British hostage Ken Bigley were also found in the apartment.
Mansha, whose fingerprints were found on the newspaper, denied having anything to do with terrorism. He said most of the items found were connected with research with which he was helping a journalist friend.
Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith remanded him in custody until 26 January while pre-sentence reports are prepared.Reuse content