Babar Ahmad 'fought' against arrest during terror raid

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News home affairs correspondent

image captionBabar Ahmad was arrested in a dawn raid on his home in south London in 2003

Two police officers accused of beating up a terror suspect have told a jury how their target struggled violently against arrest.

The Met Police officers were part of a team of 14 tasked with arresting Babar Ahmad in south London in December 2003.

Mr Ahmad, 37, has said that four officers burst into his bedroom and subjected him to a prolonged assault even though he had surrendered.

The four officers all deny assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Engineering graduate Mr Ahmad was later released without charge but is currently fighting extradition to the United States for alleged terrorism offences.

'Aware of martyrdom'

On the first day of the defence, two of the officers said Mr Ahmad confronted them in his pyjamas, prepared for battle, during the dawn raid at his home in Fountain Road, Tooting.

Pc Mark Jones, 43, and Pc Roderick James-Bowen, 40, told the jury at Southwark Crown Court that they were briefed at Scotland Yard to arrest a very dangerous al-Qaeda suspect as part of a series of co-ordinated raids.

Their sergeant said Mr Ahmad had probably been trained in armed and unarmed combat by the terror group. He was likened him to Kamel Bourgass, who murdered a detective in Manchester.

As the 14-strong arrest team headed to Mr Ahmad's home, Pc James-Bowen said he experienced a typical mix of excitement and adrenalin - but also fear.

"We were all aware of martyrdom and that people could be prepared to die for their cause," he told the jury.

Once the front door was broken open, Pcs James-Bowen and Jones rushed upstairs.

They told the jury they found Mr Ahmad standing in his bedroom in a "fighting stance", shifting his weight from foot-to-foot and apparently ready for combat.

Pc James-Bowen said the suspect glanced from side-to-side, convincing him that he was looking for a weapon.

The officers say a samurai sword was later discovered in the room, although Mr Ahmad insists the imitation weapon, bought to decorate his home, was then boxed and hidden away.

Pc James-Bowen said he charged Mr Ahmad with all his force as part of an effort to "deck and dominate". The pair smashed into the bedroom window, breaking a pane of glass.

The officers both described a ferocious battle with Mr Ahmad as he allegedly resisted arrest with kicks and punches.

"He had a real look of anger and hatred in his face," Pc Jones told the jury. "I took control of his legs as he struggled. He was kicking up his legs violently."

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, told Pc James-Bowen that his story did not match the chronology of a secret MI5 recording of the raid.

But the officer said the bug vindicated what he had been saying for eight years because it had not recorded Mr Ahmad's allegation that officers had mocked his religion.

"The remark 'Where is your God now' is a horrendous allegation, a black cloud over me personally and professionally," he told the jury.

The other two officers standing trial are Pc Nigel Cowley, 34, and Det Con John Donogue, 37. The case continues.

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