UK

Man convicted of planning terror attacks on London tourist hotspots

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Media captionMohiussunnath Chowdhury unknowingly revealed his plans to undercover police

A man has been convicted of planning a terror attack at London tourist hotspots, just over a year after he was cleared of attacking police with a sword outside Buckingham Palace.

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 28, from Luton, spoke about targeting attractions including Madame Tussauds, the gay Pride parade and a tourist bus.

The former Uber driver unwittingly revealed his plot to undercover police.

He also bragged to them that he had deceived the jury at his first trial.

Chowdhury was cleared of a terror charge in December 2018 after slashing police with a sword outside the Queen's London residence while shouting "Allahu Akbar".

At the time Chowdhury told jurors he only wanted to be killed by police and did not intend to harm anyone.

Image copyright Ben Stansall/Getty Images
Image caption Chowdhury's sister, Sneha Chowdhury, was convicted of one count of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism

Undercover officers, posing as like-minded extremists, had Chowdhury under surveillance during a five-month operation, his trial at Woolwich Crown Court heard.

The chicken shop worker prepared for his atrocity by lifting weights, practising stabbing and rehearsing beheading techniques, as well as booking shooting range training and trying to acquire a real gun, the court heard.

He remained emotionless as jurors found him guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, collecting information likely to be useful to someone preparing an act of terrorism, and disseminating terrorist publications.

The second charge related to a document titled "guidance for doing just terror operations" on his phone, which included instructions on how to kill people with knives.

Chowdhury was nothing if not prepared for martyrdom.

He'd collected knives for an attack, looked into firearms training and even made a list of what he was going to do when he got to heaven.

Top of the list wasn't meeting his maker, though. It was a tour of the palace he assumed he would be given.

Second on the unmarried chicken shop worker's list was to meet and consummate his relationship with 72 wives.

Only later - seventh on the list - would he find time to meet God; and his 10th task of life in the hereafter was "choose quests to embark on".

Mohiussunnath - or Musa - Chowdhury was obsessive about quests in which he played the part of a heroic martyr doing God's work on earth.

Read the background to the case

Chowdhury's sister, Sneha Chowdhury, 25, cried as she was convicted of one count of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism and cleared of another count of the same charge.

The prosecution described his sister as "loyal, much put-on and long-suffering" but also as someone who was "aware of all he was saying to her and what it meant".

Chowdhury's defence barrister had argued the university drop-out was a "pathetic little man" and an "attention-seeker" who "talks and talks, but doesn't do".

Chowdhury also dismissed his praise of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby as "jihadi banter" and said his weapons training came from a fascination with martial arts and weightlifting.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler/BBC
Image caption Mohiussunnath Chowdhury had planned attacks on targets including Madame Tussauds, the gay Pride parade and an open-top sightseeing bus

But prosecutors said he desired to "unleash death and suffering" on non-Muslims.

Scotland Yard counter terror commander Richard Smith said Chowdhury was an "extremely dangerous person" whose intention was "to kill and harm as many people as possible".

In one recording from June last year, Chowdhury told an undercover officer he was free to attack one million unbelievers if he was fighting for "the pleasure of Allah".

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