UK

Medical student accused of 'drive-by' plot 'posed with gun'

Tarik Hassane, 22, sent his friends a photograph of himself holding a handgun and a book about Osama Bin Laden, the court heard Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Tarik Hassane, 22, sent his friends a photograph of himself holding a handgun and a book about Osama Bin Laden, the court heard

A medical student accused of plotting to carry out a "drive-by" shooting in London had pictures of himself posing with a gun, a jury has heard.

Tarik Hassane, 22, sent his friends a photograph of himself holding a handgun and a book about Osama Bin Laden, his trial at the Old Bailey was told.

After his arrest in 2014, he denied he supported so-called Islamic State.

Mr Hassane and three co-defendants, all from west London, deny conspiracy to murder and preparing terrorist acts.

Surveillance operation

In a handwritten statement, Mr Hassane told police officers "any foolish posing on my part was just that and not in any way criminal".

The jury was also shown photographs of Mr Hassane and his three co-defendants Nathan Cuffy, 26, Nyall Hamlett, 25, and Suhaib Majeed, 21, being followed during a five-week surveillance operation.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption The jury was shown an image of Suhaib Majeed and Nyall Hamlett

Prosecutors claim the images show how a Russian-made pistol, silencer and bullets were passed between some of the accused men and were later thrown out of a bedroom window when police moved in to make arrests.

The court has heard how Mr Hassane - who is accused of pledging his allegiance to IS during his time studying in Sudan - is said to have carried out online reconnaissance of targets at Shepherd's Bush police station and the Parachute Regiment Territorial Army Barracks at White City.

In social media chats with his friend Mr Majeed, Mr Hassane used coded language, telling the physics undergraduate to get a gun and an untraceable moped for an attack, prosecutors claim.

The jury was shown photographs taken by surveillance officers in early September 2014 in which it is claimed Mr Majeed can be seen on his laptop in Regent's Park carrying out secret online conversations.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Suhaib Majeed was pictured on his laptop in Regent's Park

Photographs taken on 23 September are alleged to show how the men acquired a firearm for the attack.

Two of the accused men - Mr Cuffy and Mr Hamlett - can be seen shaking hands in the street.

Mr Cuffy has admitted transferring a prohibited firearm but denies conspiracy to murder and preparing terrorist acts.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Two of the accused men - Nathan Cuffy and Nyall Hamlett - were pictured shaking hands in the street

The surveillance shots show that an hour later Mr Hamlett met Mr Majeed when, according to the prosecution, he passed the weapon on to him.

The following day officers raided Mr Majeed's flat where they saw the Baikal pistol, the silencer and the ammunition being thrown out of an upstairs bedroom window.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Police say this gun was thrown from Suhaib Majeed's bedroom window when he was arrested

In a statement, Mr Majeed told police he did not agree with a religious ruling or fatwa issued by IS calling for attacks on civilians in the West.

He said: "I believe these views are against the teachings of Islam."

Mr Hassane was arrested after returning to London from Sudan the following month.

He told police "I am in total disagreement with Isis [another name for IS]... I have been involved in no terrorist activity anywhere."

He said the coded conversations on social media were about buying trainers, not guns.

The trial continues.

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