Isis-supporting Uber driver attempted Buckingham Palace terror attack 'because he hated Queen', court hears

Court hears Mohiussunnath Chowdhury accidentally drove past Windsor Castle to pub of same name

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Monday 18 June 2018 17:39 BST
Police officers stand guard at a police cordon next to Buckingham Palace following an incident on 25 August
Police officers stand guard at a police cordon next to Buckingham Palace following an incident on 25 August (AFP)

An Isis-supporting Uber driver attempted a terror attack outside Buckingham Palace because of “hatred” for the Queen, a court has heard.

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury is accused of attacking police officers guarding the official royal residence with a sword in August last year.

The 27-year-old initially drove from his home in Luton to a pub called the Windsor Castle after an apparent satnav error, the Old Bailey heard, before travelling onwards to the palace.

Prosecutor Tim Cray said Mr Chowdhury was driving towards the world-famous landmark shortly before 8.30pm on 25 August when a marked police van came in the other direction.

"As the defendant got up to where the police van was coming towards him, he swerved his car through the traffic cones designed to keep the two lanes of traffic apart,” he added.

Two officers got out to investigate, initially thinking the driver was drunk or on drugs, but Mr Cray said Mr Chowdhury “had something far more serious in mind”.

"It was down to the quick reactions of the police the defendant was stopped,” he told the court. "As officers got out of the car, they heard the defendant say words to the effect 'It's all a bit f***ed up'.

"They then saw him reach for something that turned out to be a sword.

A police officer patrols within the grounds of Buckingham Palace in London (Reuters)

“There was a short, desperate struggle with the officers trying to get the sword off the defendant while he is punching at them and they are punching at him.

"The defendant is shouting 'Allahu Akbar' over and over again so by now the police officers understandably believed they were dealing with a terrorist incident."

PC Ian Midgley and Detective Sergeant Gavin Hutt suffered cuts as they disarmed the man, jurors were told, with footage showing them subduing him with CS gas.

DS Hutt told the court Mr Chowdhury grabbed the sword from the back of his Toyota Prius after he tried to talk to him through the window.

”He was using all his force to get the object out,” he said. “He was saying, 'Allahu Akbar'.“

PC Midgley told the court he tried to take the weapon from the passenger side, desperately trying to punch Mr Chowdhury unconscious.

The officers said they feared there could be a homemade bomb in the vehicle as they dragged the driver out.

Prosecutors presented a letter allegedly sent by Mr Chowdhury to his sister earlier the same day, which they said show his intention to become a martyr.

"Tell everyone that I love them and that they should struggle against the enemies of Allah with their lives and their property,” it said.

"The Queen and her soldiers will all be in the hellfire they go to war with Muslims around the world and kill them without any mercy.

"They are the enemies that Allah tells us to fight. Please make dua [prayers] for me that Allah accepts my efforts.”

Half an hour before Mr Chowdhury sent the note, he bought a knife sharpener at Sainsbury's allegedly to sharpen a 3ft (1m) long sword.

After leaving home at 6.30pm, the defendant headed towards Windsor and onwards to London, past the Coldstream Guards barracks to Buckingham Palace.

“It may have been through some sort of satnav error that although he drove past Windsor Castle he actually seemed to end up at a pub called the Windsor Castle,” Mr Cray said.

The defendant, of Kirkwood Road in Luton, denies preparing acts of terrorism on 25 August, claiming he only wanted to be killed.

The incident followed a string of bloody terror attacks that left dozens of victims dead in Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.

Prosecutors said Mr Chowdhury had “self-radicalised” himself online and kept his interest in Isis and terrorism away from his family.

The court heard he watched the Channel 4 drama The State, about British Isis supporters travelling to Syria and searched for beheadings and executioner Jihadi John online.

In a WhatsApp discussion on the Westminster attacker Khalid Masood, Mr Chowdhury allegedly wrote “f*** the police” and he is accused of sending emojis of a British soldier, a knife and an ”Arabic figure“.

The trial continues.

Additional reporting by PA

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