Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Farhad Salah jailed over driverless car bomb plot

Farhad Salah Image copyright Counter-Terrorism Policing
Image caption Farad Salah was convicted of preparing to commit acts of terrorism

A would-be terrorist who tried to make a bomb to be used in a driverless car attack has been jailed for 15 years.

Farhad Salah, 24, planned the attack to spare his own life while harming "others he considered to be infidels", a court heard.

In messages sent before his arrest, Salah called his plot a "martyrdom operation with cars without driver".

He was found guilty of preparing to commit acts of terrorism after a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Jurors heard Salah, a supporter of the Islamic State group (IS), had been testing small improvised explosive devices in preparation for an attack at the time of his arrest.

Anne Whyte QC, prosecuting, told jurors Salah had intended to make an explosive to be placed in remote-controlled vehicle "so that no-one had to martyr themselves in the process".

"Improvised explosive devices could be made and used in a way here in the UK that spared his own life preferably but harmed others he considered to be infidels," she said.

Ms Whyte said that Salah, an Iraqi Kurd, was getting "increasingly desperate" to do something for IS at the time of his plotting.

He had been unable to travel to the Middle East due to his unsettled UK immigration status, with his asylum application still being determined at the time of his arrest in December 2017, she said.

Sentencing, Judge Paul Watson QC said Salah had come to the UK in 2014 after "ostensibly fleeing from conflict" in Kurdistan.

He had appeared to live a law-abiding lifestyle but "the reality was far more sinister", he said.

During the trial, Judge Watson said, a "clear picture" had emerged of someone who had "become wedded to an extremist ideology and was preparing to take action to give effect to those views".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Police carried out lengthy searches in Chesterfield and Sheffield in December 2017

Counter-terrorism police have previously said Salah of Brunswick Road, Sheffield, "posed a very real risk" to public safety.

Co-defendant Andy Star, a 32-year-old chip shop owner from Chesterfield, was cleared of the same offence after jurors could not reach a verdict.

It was the second time the pair had been tried, after a jury failed to reach verdicts last year.

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