Buckingham Palace sword attacker described Christchurch mosque shooting as ‘win-win’, court hears

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury allegedly told officers far-right terror attack would make Muslims ‘more angry’

Lizzie Dearden
Security Correspondent
Monday 13 January 2020 19:13 GMT
PC Ian Midgley carrying a sword after disarming Mohiussunnath Chowdhury outside Buckingham Palace on 25 August 2017
PC Ian Midgley carrying a sword after disarming Mohiussunnath Chowdhury outside Buckingham Palace on 25 August 2017 (Metropolitan Police)

An alleged terrorist accused of planning new attacks after slashing police officers with a sword outside Buckingham Palace described the Christchurch shootings as a “win-win”, a court has heard.

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury is accused of showing undercover police officers a video recorded by white supremacist Brenton Tarrant as he massacred Muslims in New Zealand.

Woolwich Crown Court heard he played the full-length video at a mosque in Luton last March, while he was allegedly planning his own attack on potential targets including Madame Tussauds, a gay pride parade and a London tourist bus.

An audio recording played to the jury on Monday showed Mr Chowdhury allegedly telling the officers: “It is a win-win for us regardless of what happens, this is a win.”

He allegedly added: “It only makes us more angry … we should be angry.”

Prosecutors said the undercover officers were posing as fellow jihadis, and monitored the 28-year-old after he was acquitted of terror offences over his 2017 attack outside Buckingham Palace.

Duncan Atkinson QC previously told the jury Mr Chowdhury “said that he thought that the shooting was not necessarily a bad thing because it essentially raised awareness of the evil of the kuffar – the unbelievers – and would make a lot of people angry, which meant that they hopefully would do take some action.

“He also said that the people who had been killed had become martyrs because they were killed in the mosque.”

The New Zealand shootings took place days before the meeting at the mosque where Mr Chowdhury took the officers through selected verses in the Quran and discussed jihad as a route to paradise, the court heard.

The defendant is also alleged to have played the officers speeches by al-Qaeda-linked hate preacher Anwar al-Awlaki.

Mr Chowdhury was released from prison in December 2018 after being cleared of terror charges over attacking officers outside Buckingham Palace with a sword while shouting “Allahu Akbar”.

The former Uber driver had claimed he had not been attempting an attack but was trying to commit “suicide by cop” because he was depressed.

But the jury was told he had “deceived” the jury that acquitted him after being given tips by fellow extremists in HMP Belmarsh ahead of the retrial.

Speaking to the undercover officers, Mr Chowdhury allegedly recalled “smashing this guy up and eventually this guy started smashing me back” as the sword was wrestled away and he was pepper sprayed.

He said he was then punched “into like unconsciousness” by police and woke up in the back of a van, calling the experience “beautiful” and saying it felt like he “was there for a reason”.

Mr Chowdhury was held on remand in HMP Belmarsh between his arrest and acquittal, and allegedly boasted of meeting the Parsons Green bomber and a prisoner who knew Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi.

An Instagram video posted by Mohiussunnath Chowdhury showing a replica pistol (Metropolitan Police)

One of the undercover officers, identified only as Hamza, told the court: “He stated that on his second trial he was advised to lose weight so that he could deceive the jury.”

Mr Chowdhury allegedly said the makeover made him “look like a kid”.

The accused also told his 10-year-old cousin he wanted to be killed during the Buckingham Palace incident, the jury heard.

In the conversation, which was secretly taped, he said: “They kill Muslims all over the world and so I thought, you know... if they want to kill Muslims, then I’m gonna go and beat the crap out of them with my sword.”

The court heard that Mr Chowdhury engaged in physical training, acquiring wooden training swords, enrolling on a shooting training course and obtaining a replica pistol while seeking a live firearm and ammunition.

Mr Atkinson said the defendant undertook knife practice in his bedroom and sword practice with his sister, Sneha Chowdhury, who is charged with failing to inform police about his plans.

Mr Chowdhury is also accused of obtaining and sharing terrorist propaganda including Isis training manuals on how to carry out attacks.

The court heard he had searched the internet for Isis beheading videos and used one of the group’s symbols as his WhatsApp profile photo while sending propaganda to contacts.

Mr Chowdhury, of Kirkwood Road in Luton, denies preparing acts of terrorism, disseminating a terrorist publication and possessing terrorist information.

His 25-year-old sister, of the same address, denies two counts of failing to disclose information about terrorist activity. The trial continues.

Additional reporting by PA

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