Northern Ireland

Prince Harry plotter Ashraf Islam jailed for fraud

Ashraf Islam Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Ashraf Islam was previously jailed over a threat to Prince Harry

A County Down conman who converted to Islam and was sent to prison over a plot to kill Prince Harry has been jailed for a year over a £56,000 fraud.

Ashraf Islam, 32, of Albert Street, Bangor, was sentenced for offences committed under his former name of Mark Townley.

He admitted two counts of fraudulent trading between April 2009 and May 2011.

In February, he was jailed for three years for a threat to Prince Harry.

In May 2013, Townley, then calling himself Ashraf Islam, walked into a police station in London and told officers that he was "making a plot to kill his Royal Highness Prince Harry.''

A judge at Isleworth Crown Court in London described Islam's plot as "vague and unlikely to succeed", but said he presented a risk to the public.

The fraud offences related to Townley's time as director of a "not for profit organisation" called National Task Force, which was later re-branded as NTF or NTF UK.

The company, based at Cromac Avenue, Belfast, purported to be a social enterprise that created, supported and funded youth projects across the United Kingdom.

Belfast Crown Court was told a large number of victims were defrauded by the company, with the amount of money involved in the region of £56,000.

Police were alerted to Townley's fraudulent activities in May 2010 when it received complaints from a company called CET Ltd who manufacture and supply fitted spas.

Mental health

Sentencing Islam, a judge said he had "caused harm to innocent members of the public and the courts had a duty punish him and protect the public from further offences of this nature".

"You have a long history of embarking on business schemes that have no practical level of success and are doomed to failure and your criminal record bears that out," she added.

"It is clear that your offending follows a similar pattern in the context of your serious mental issues and evidence has been provided to me in a number of medical reports which support that.''

A defence barrister said that Islam was suffering from a number of mental health issues at the time he had committed the fraud offences and had also been diagnosed as being bipolar.

"He has been diagnosed as suffering from a number of mental health disorders and that he is borderline on a hospital order, but at this stage it is assessed that he doesn't need a hospital order," they added.

A report by the probation service said it had devised a programme for Islam that would "protect the public from further offences'' and that it required a two year licence period in order to complete its work.

The judge said: "I am satisfied that a three-year sentence is appropriate. One year will be spent in custody and two years will be spent on licence. That is the sentence of this court.''

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