UK trio jailed for preparing acts of terrorism
- 25 April 2013
- From the section UK
Three British men, including an ex-police community support officer and a Muslim convert, have been jailed for preparing acts of terrorism.
Richard Dart was jailed for six years, Imran Mahmood received nine years and nine months and Jahangir Alom was jailed for four years and six months.
The London-based trio, who pleaded guilty in March, discussed targeting the town of Royal Wootton Bassett.
The judge said the three were "committed to acts of terrorism".
They were arrested in the capital city weeks before the Olympic Games.
Dart, 30, of Broadway, Ealing, west London, and Mahmood, 22, from Dabbs Hill Lane, Northolt, west London, were both born in the UK. Alom, 26, of Abbey Road, Stratford, was born in Bangladesh but is a British citizen.
Mr Justice Simon told them they held "radical Islamist beliefs and have shown yourselves to be committed to acts of terrorism".
Dart refused to stand when he was sentenced, and said: "I don't wish to stand up, I believe ruling and judging is only for Allah."
The judge said that they were all "committed fundamentalists" who would have been prepared to kill.
Mahmood and Dart were both given extended sentences, meaning that they will serve two-thirds of their prison terms rather than half, and they will spend five years on licence.
He told Dart and Mahmood: "I'm satisfied to the required criminal standard that neither of you had ruled out an attack in the United Kingdom, and that you, Mahmood, were looking at arming yourself with a bomb."
After the sentencing, the Metropolitan Police said the convictions followed a painstaking investigation by the Met's counter-terrorism command and security services that had uncovered secret conversations about potential attacks in the UK and abroad.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, head of the Met's counter-terrorism command, said the investigation had involved a "mixture of dedicated, diligent traditional detective work combined with the latest technology and computer techniques".
He said the trio were "dangerous men".
"This case serves as a classic example of how terrorists live in our midst while preparing their acts and their determination to travel overseas to train before returning to the UK," he said.
The three men admitted carrying out the offence between July 2010 and July last year at a previous hearing last month.
Dart and Alom travelled to Pakistan to try to get terrorist training, and took advice from Mahmood who had already visited the country.
Former BBC security guard Dart also discussed bomb making with Mahmood, and spoke of targeting the Wiltshire town of Royal Wootton Bassett - which became a focal point for the repatriation of UK soldiers from Afghanistan.
Police discovered fragments of text on Dart's laptop that revealed that the pair had used the computer to have a "silent conversation" to avoid possible surveillance bugs.
They would open a word processor document and take it in turns to type, before deleting the text and mistakenly assuming none of it would be stored on the machine.
However forensic experts were able to plough through 2,000 pages of computer code to decipher fragments of what was said.
These included Mahmood making a reference to Royal Wootton Bassett and then adding "if it comes down to it it's that or even just to deal with a few MI5 MI6 heads".
Counter-terrorism teams also believe that the pair used the same tactic walking down the street with a mobile phone.
'Object of suspicion'
All three had been stopped at airports while travelling to and from Pakistan.
When Mahmood was stopped at Manchester in 2010, traces of explosives were found on two rucksacks that he had with him.
He later admitted that he had received rudimentary training in explosives while in Pakistan.
Dart, who changed his name to Salahuddin al-Britani, became involved in extremism after moving from his home town of Weymouth, Dorset, to east London and fraternising with radical Muslim Anjem Choudary.
His beliefs were brought into the spotlight as part of a BBC television documentary My Brother The Islamist, by his stepbrother Robb Leech.
Alom joined the Territorial Army in 2006 as part of the G Company 7th Battalion the Rifles, but did not complete his training due to medical reasons.
The following year he became a PCSO but left the job in September 2009.
Mr Justice Simon said that he and Dart were "the object of suspicion" for their fellow radicals, and may have felt the need to prove themselves.
Alom had his own contact with a fourth man, Mohammed Tariq Nasar, a Briton now living in Pakistan, to try to get terrorist training, it is claimed. Mr Nasar has not been charged with any offence.
The trio were arrested on 5 July last year just before the start of the Olympics, and were charged on 18 July.