UK

Teenager 'groomed friend to copy Lee Rigby killing'

Kazi Islam - Terror trial Old Bailey - court drawing Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Kazi Islam denies preparing to commit acts of terrorism

A teenager "ruthlessly exploited" a vulnerable young man in a plot to carry out a killing inspired by the death of Fusilier Lee Rigby, a court has heard.

Kazi Islam, 18, is accused of grooming 19-year-old Harry Thomas to buy ingredients for a pipe bomb and to kill two soldiers.

He used "flattery and threats" to incite Mr Thomas, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Islam, from Newham, east London, denies preparing to commit acts of terrorism.

Prosecutor Annabel Darlow QC said Mr Islam had befriended Mr Thomas in October 2013 by pretending to sympathise with him over a break-up with a girlfriend.

He went on to encourage Mr Thomas to kill a soldier by telling him stories about innocent children being murdered by military forces, she told the court.

'Cake' code

A series of exchanges on BlackBerry Messenger and social media sites were uncovered when police raided the house in east London where Mr Islam lived with his family, jurors were told.

In the exchanges, he encouraged Mr Thomas to buy the component parts of an improvised explosive device - referring to it in code as "cake", the court heard.

The Old Bailey was told Mr Islam's attempt to keep his plans covert failed when Mr Thomas replied: "cake? U mean the b o m b [sic]."

The court also heard how Mr Islam repeatedly praised the actions of those who had murdered Fusilier Rigby in Woolwich in May 2013 and actively encouraged Mr Thomas to take the life of one or more soldiers.

One message read to the court said: "When I give you the order I want you to kill a soldier..2 soldiers..not yet though."

Mr Islam allegedly asked Mr Thomas if he would carry out an attack similar to the one in which Fusilier Rigby was killed, asking him to "get a meat cleaver or a kitchen knife".

'Desperate to impress'

The Old Bailey heard that while Mr Islam was arrested in August 2014 and later charged, Mr Thomas was not arrested since a search of his home and examination of his electronic devices found nothing to incriminate him.

Mr Thomas will not be giving evidence as a witness in the trial.

Ms Darlow said: "As the messages between Harry Thomas and the defendant expose all too clearly, Thomas was a vulnerable, not particularly bright young man who was desperate to impress Islam and to try and forge some sort of friendship with him.

"Islam ruthlessly exploited to the utmost Thomas' vulnerability and obvious wish to try and ingratiate himself with Islam."

She added: "Rather than risk his own neck by going out and trying to assemble the necessary component for a bomb, he tried to exploit others - Thomas in particular - to buy the components for a bomb."

The case continues.

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