Terror plot trio staked out police targets and took photos of officers, court hears

Plot involving the three men emerged after two were allegedly foiled in attempts to travel to Syria

Paul Peachey
Crime Correspondent
Monday 12 October 2015 20:29
Haseeb Hamayoon, Nadir Syed and Yousaf Syed, in the dock at Woolwich Crown Court on Monday
Haseeb Hamayoon, Nadir Syed and Yousaf Syed, in the dock at Woolwich Crown Court on Monday

Three men inspired by the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby to carry out a public beheading staked out police targets and stored the photos of officers on their mobile phones, a court has heard.

The trio – who mocked victims of terrorist attacks in Britain and the US during online discussions – responded to a call to arms by a senior Islamic State figure who exhorted the group’s followers to cut off the heads of disbelievers, a jury was told. The plot emerged after two of the men were allegedly foiled in their attempts to travel and fight in Syria.

Cousins Nadir Syed, 22, and Yousaf Syed, 20, and Haseeb Hamayoon, 28, were unnaturally interested in beheading and lionised the two men serving life sentences for running down and hacking to death Drummer Rigby in south London in 2013, said Max Hill QC, opening the case for the prosecution. He told Woolwich Crown Court that they carried pictures of the killers on their mobile phones and one even described Michael Adebolajo, one of the killers, as a “diamond geezer”.

Nadir Syed’s phone was found to include stored images of the killers including one with the word Mujahid – Islamic fighter – superimposed on the photo.

Mr Hamayoon took photos of a police community support officer (PCSO) patrolling a car park at a mosque in Hounslow, west London, the court heard. Another photo found on one of the alleged plotter’s phones showed a close-up of another PCSO.

In the week before Remembrance Day last year, Nadir Syed allegedly wrote that “wearing a poppy supports murdering terrorist”.

Jurors were shown a phone-recorded video of the cousins stamping on a poppy and kicking it towards a drain. They were arrested just days before the commemorations.

A fatwa issued by Isis spokesman Abu Muhammad Al Adnani in September last year provided specific justification for attacks on police and the security forces, said Mr Hill.

The three men are accused of planning to attack the 2014 Remembrance Day ceremony

The fatwa called on Isis followers to “rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads.”

It went on: “If you are not able to find an IED (improvised explosive device) or a bullet then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him from a high place, or choke him or poison him.” The court heard that the alleged plotters discussed the merits of different knives before Mr Hamayoon bought one branded “Rambo First Blood II” from a website advertising “blade bargains”.

The Syed cousins had both tried to catch flights to Turkey early last year and prosecutors believe they were planning to get to Syria. Nadir, of Hounslow, west London, was stopped from boarding because he was on bail for a public order offence, while Yousaf, of High Wycombe, Bucks, went no further than Turkey.

Mr Hill said that while they were “effectively landlocked in this country” the Syeds plotted with Hamayoon and talked about terror attacks in online chat rooms. They swapped messages about the grisly beheadings of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker Alan Henning, the court heard.

The three men deny planning acts of terrorism between 20 September and 7 November.

The case continues.

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