Isis supporter who claimed he was peaceful ‘Alan Titchmarsh fan’ convicted of planning UK terror attack

Sahayb Abu, 27, rapped about being a ‘straight Isis supporter’ and wanting to behead people

Lizzie Dearden
Security Correspondent
Friday 12 March 2021 17:49 GMT
Alleged terror plotter raps about being a 'straight Isis supporter'

An Isis supporter who bought a sword and combat vest online has been convicted of planning a terror attack in the UK

Sahayb Abu, 27, claimed he was a “man of world peace” who wanted to become a farmer and was a fan of veteran broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh.

But a jury found him guilty of preparing an act of terrorism at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The verdict was agreed by 11 jurors, with one dissenting, after 21 hours of deliberations.

A five-week trial heard that Abu’s two half-brothers, Wail and Suleyman Aweys, joined Isis in Syria in 2015 and were later killed.

Three other relatives were jailed in 2019 for disseminating Isis propaganda, and Abu socialised with terrorist prisoners while serving a term for conspiracy to burgle.

Prosecutors said he started mounting the plot shortly after being freed from jail in March 2020, and viewed propaganda by Isis and extremist preachers.

Jurors were played numerous violent raps that Abu recorded, which he claimed were merely parodies of drill artists.

A rap sent to two of his brothers on 5 July ended with the words: “My shank [knife] penetrate ya, got my suicide vest – one click, boom, and I'll see you later.”

In reference to the 2013 terror attack where two Islamist extremists murdered a soldier, Abu said: “I'm trying to see many Lee Rigby’s heads rolling on the ground.”

He added: “I shoot up a crowd cos I'm a night stalker, got my shank, got my guns – straight Isis supporter – reject democracy ... advocate sharia supporter.”

Abu also sang about “eliminating the foes” and wrote hateful messages about non-Muslims and Shia Muslims.

In a text message to his brothers on 3 July, Abu said he “aspired not to live to be 30”.

The defendant claimed that the “world is against Muslims” and that he did not want to die until he had “gained some type of revenge”.

“The kuffar [disbelievers] have felt their share of pain, I just wish it was multiplied a million fold,” he added.

Two days before, he had ordered an 18in blade from an online shop that described it as a “deadly close-combat design … used by warriors”, and paid extra to have it sharpened before delivery.

The court heard that the sword and body armour Abu bought online never arrived because of intervention by authorities, although he had purchased a knife, balaclava and gloves.

He also discussed the possibility of obtaining a gun with an undercover police officer, who had been posing as a fellow jihadi on an online chat group.

Commander Richard Smith, of the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command, said the investigation started in March 2020 because of concerns about Abu’s mindset.

A screenshot of the weapon that Sahayb Abu attempted to purchase online

“This case illustrates that despite the pandemic and lockdown, the threat from terrorism has not gone away,” he added.

“Over several months, Abu sought to obtain weapons and the equipment needed to commit a terrorist attack. He is an extremely dangerous individual, but we were able to intervene and arrest him before he was able to carry out his attack.

“This investigation took place during the Covid-19 pandemic, but our focus on keeping the public safe from terrorism has not wavered during that time.”

Mr Smith said police were not sure exactly what Abu’s target would have been, and decided to arrest him quickly in July because of fears he would obtain a gun.

Several of the messages and rap videos were sent to his brother, 32-year-old Muhamed Abu, who has been charged with failing to tell authorities about the alleged plans.

He wept as he was cleared of the charge on Friday and appeared distressed at his sibling's conviction.

Muhamed, of Dagenham, sobbed as he was led from the dock and could be heard saying: “He's a clown. He’s a buffoon”.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in