Member of first all-female Isis terror cell jailed for life for London attack plan

Rizlaine Boular, 22, took over a plot originally started by her younger sister with their mother's support

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Friday 15 June 2018 18:18 BST
Rizlaine Boular, 22, took over her sister's terror plot after she was arrested and charged
Rizlaine Boular, 22, took over her sister's terror plot after she was arrested and charged

A member of the first all-female British Isis cell has been jailed for life for planning a knife attack in central London.

Rizlaine Boular, a 22-year-old mother, was handed a minimum term of 16 years at the Old Bailey for plotting to cause panic, injury and death in April last year.

Her mother, Mina Dich, 44, was jailed for six years and nine months with a further five years on extended licence for helping her.

Both women appeared in Muslim dress to be sentenced by Judge Mark Dennis QC.

He said Dich “failed in her parental role” to stop her daughter committing an atrocity that would have taken place one month after the Westminster attack.

Judge Dennis QC said the mother-of-four and played a “significant role” in radicalising both her daughters and bore a “heavy responsibility” for their actions.

“There are individuals walking the streets today whose lives could have been irreparably damaged or lost had it not been for the intervention of the police and security services,” he added.

The pair took over a terror plot originally started by Rizlaine’s sister Safaa Boular, after she was prevented from joining Isis in Syria aged 16.

Safaa had met Isis fighter Naweed Hussain online and the pair planned to marry, while he gave her guidance on carrying out an attack using grenades and guns.

Safaa Boular, 18, plotted to launch a terror attack in Britain after being prevented from joining Isis in Syria

Hussain was killed by bombing in the Isis stronghold of Raqqa and prosecutors said his death “strengthened her determination” to commit an atrocity and be reunited with him in paradise.

Safaa’s plan was stopped when she was charged with trying to travel to Syria and taken into custody on 12 April 2017, but she passed the torch to her sister.

Rizlaine, who had tried to travel to Syria herself two years before, admitted planning an attack after her sister’s incarceration.

While Safaa had discussed targeting the British Museum, the Old Bailey heard her sister planned to launch an atrocity using knives near the Houses of Parliament.

Spies had already intercepted Safaa’s conversations on the encrypted messaging app Telegram by posing as Isis operatives, having monitored her since she was stopped at Stansted Airport in August 2016.

​MI5 agents and counter-terror police also recorded conversations between imprisoned Safaa and her mother and sister, where they discussed the plot in code as a “tea party”.

In one telephone call, Rizlaine said she knew “a few recipes for some amazing cakes” for a “proper like English tea party kind of thing”.

Safaa suggested an “Alice in Wonderland theme” telling her sister: “You can be the Mad Hatter ‘cause your hair’s crazy.” Dich responded: “That will be fun.”

Prosecutors said the conversations suggested the attack would have taken place on 27 April 2017, with Rizlaine and her mother buying knives and driving around Westminster landmarks on a reconnaissance mission.

Mina Dich, 44, supported her daughters’ plot to carry out a terror attack in Britain

Rizlaine bought a rucksack, shared plans with a friend and even practised a knife attack at Khawla Barghouthi’s home in Willesden, north-west London.

After police overheard Rizlaine telling how she would carry out the atrocity on 27 April 2017 armed officers moved in, shooting the plotter as she shouted “f*** you”.

She made a full recovery in hospital, while Dich was arrested as she visited Safaa in custody.

Police uncovered a collection of Isis and al-Qaeda propaganda on their devices, including from jailed radical preacher Anjem Choudary.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “After Safaa was arrested and charged, her mother and sister tried to pick up where she left off. But again, working with the security services, we tracked their plans and stopped them before they were able to put them into practice.

“All three women were filled with hate and toxic ideology and were determined to carry out a terrorist attack. Had they been successful, it could well have resulted in people being killed or seriously injured.

“But thanks to the work of the security services and counter terrorism police, their plans never came to fruition.”

In mitigation, Rizlaine’s lawyer Imran Khan QC said she “wanted to die”.

“She knew as soon as she produced a knife in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster police officers would swoop and kill her, and that’s what she wanted at that time,” he told the court, saying his client was radicalised online after being sacked from a marketing sales team for wearing Muslim clothes after three months.

Rizlaine also suffered in an abusive marriage to a local imam after being prevented from travelling to Syria in 2014, Mr Khan said.

The lawyer argued authorities’ efforts to steer her away from Isis ideology was not sufficient, adding: “If there was Prevent intervention it was certainly not sufficient.

“The intervention was not as robust as it could have been and should have been.”

Rizlaine and her mother pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts, while Barghouthi, 21, admitted failing to alert authorities to the plot. She will be sentenced next Friday.

Safaa, Britain’s youngest female Isis terror plotter, will be sentenced at a later date.

Additional reporting by PA

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