Woolwich-inspired teenager arrested on his way to behead British soldier in London, court hears

Brusthom Ziamani, 19, allegedly wrote about the 'Islamic State of Ireland and Britain' on Facebook

A Muslim teenager was arrested on his way to behead a British soldier in London carrying a 12-inch knife and hammer wrapped in an Islamic flag, a court has heard.

Brusthom Ziamani was “inspired” by the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich and had researched the location of army cadet bases before setting out in August, a jury at the Old Bailey was told.

Annabel Darlow, a lawyer for the prosecution, told the jury today that Ziamani had converted to Islam early in 2014 and had showed his ex-girlfriend the weapons, described Fusilier Rigby's killer Michael Adebolajo as a “legend” and told her he would “kill soldiers”.

The 19-year-old, of Camberwell, denies a charge of preparing an act of terrorism.

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A sketch of Brusthom Ziamani appearing via video link at the Old Bailey, London, in December

Writing under the name Mujahid Karim on Facebook, he had allegedly posted a photo of six severed heads, called for war on the “kuffar” (disbelievers), advocated Sharia law in the UK and said he was “willing to die in the cause of Allah”.

Ziamani did not tell police about his alleged beliefs when he was arrested, Ms Darlow told the jury, but told a security officer in custody that he had been on the way to kill a soldier at an army barracks when he was caught.

“He said that he was going to behead the soldier and hold that soldier's head up in the air so that a friend could take a photograph with the severed head of the soldier,” she added.

"You may think that his aim was to emulate the dubious feats of his hero Michael Adebolajo, who had murdered a British soldier close to the Woolwich barracks where he worked."

pg-4-rigby-1-reuters.jpgZiamani had previously been arrested in June 2014, the court heard.

On 20 June, he allegedly searched for "Camberwell army cadets" on Google and looked at the website of the London Irish Rifles Association, as well as for cadets in Lewisham, looking at details of the Army Cadet Force in Blackheath.

In that month police found a letter in his jeans telling his “beloved parents” that he was a “changed person”. He wrote of being martyred and going to paradise and referred to people being raped, tortured and killed in Iraq and Syria, saying that he had a "duty" to help them, the jury was told.

"Because I have no means ov gettin there I will wage war against the british government on this soil the british government will have a taste of there own medicine they will be humiliated this is ISIB Islamic State of Ireland and Britain (sic),” it said.

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Ziamani allegedly wrote of the 'Islamic State of Ireland and Britain'

“Now we will take a thousand ov yours then ten thousand and send you all to the hell-fire you want war you got it British soldiers heads will be removed and burned u cannot defeat the Muslims we love to die the way you love to live my fellow muslim brothers these people want war lets kill them slaughter them and implement sharia in our lands and UK (all sic).”

The letter said murdered Fusilier Rigby was “burning in hell” and that this “is what you get for voting Cameron and democracy”.

Ziamani told police that he followed radical preachers including Abu Hamza and Anjem Choudary but denied he was planning an attack.

He was released on bail after the June arrest and spoken to the next month by anti-radicalisation engagement officers from Prevent. The court heard that Ziamani was unresponsive and said he “did not need help with his religion”.

Ziamani allegedly continued to post extremist material on Facebook, including a message saying “it is a shame Hitler never finished his job”.

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Fusilier Lee Rigby was attacked and killed near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich (PA)

He also wrote: “You can sit at home and play Call of Duty or you can come out here and respond to the real call of duty - the choice is yours.”

The teenager had researched the murder of Fusilier Rigby, the court heard, reading news articles about the attack and the perpetrators.

Ms Darlow said: “The prosecution say that the defendant saw Michael Adebolajo as a hero and role model whose crimes he aspired to copy.”

Ziamani identified with the Woolwich killer, she claimed, as he was also a convert from a Christian family and targeted the armed forces.

He got back in touch with his ex-girlfriend on 16 August, sending messages and making several visits over the next few days, telling her: “If I leave this world I don't want any hatred to be left between us.”

The jury was told that on 19 August he arrived at her home at 7am, saying: “Me and the brothers are planning a terrorist attack.”

Ms Darlow said the girl asked Ziamani if he meant a bomb and he replied: "No not like that, basically to kill soldiers."

He was arrested in Settles Street, Whitechapel, later that day and charged with planning an act of terrorism. The trial continues.

Additional reporting by PA