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Buckingham Palace sword attack jury fails to reach verdict on alleged Isis supporter

Jurors unable to decide whether Mohiussunnath Chowdhury guilty of terror offence

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Friday 29 June 2018 18:18 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 alleged Isis supporter accused of launching a sword attack on police officers guarding Buckingham Palace is to face a retrial.

After deliberating for 19 hours over whether Mohiussunnath Chowdhury was guilty of preparing an act of terrorism, the jury was discharged after failing to agree on a verdict.

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb had previously told jurors that they could make a decision by majority.

But a minimum of 10 people could not arrive at a verdict.

Prosecutors told London's Old Bailey that Mr Chowdhury attempted a terror attack outside Buckingham Palace because of “hatred” for the Queen.

After an apparent satnav error, the 27-year-old allegedly drove from his home in Luton to a pub called the Windsor Castle, before travelling onwards to Buckingham Palace.

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

Then he "swerved his car through the traffic cones designed to keep the two lanes of traffic apart."

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”.

Police officers stand guard at a police cordon next to Buckingham Palace following an incident on 25 August (PA)

He told the court: "It was down to the quick reactions of the police the defendant was stopped. 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. 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. Footage captured them subduing him with CS gas.

Prosecutors presented a letter allegedly sent by Mr Chowdhury to his sister earlier the same day, which they said showed 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.”

Luton native Mr Chowdhury, had denied preparing acts of terrorism and said he only intended to get killed by police.

He told the court he was upset at the British government's role in arming Saudi Arabia and felt responsible for the deaths of innocent people in Yemen.

Prosecutor Tim Cray indicated that the Crown Prosecution Service would seek a retrial and Mr Chowdhury was remanded in custody until his next hearing.

Additional reporting by PA

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