England

'Silent bomber' couple jailed for London terror plot

Mohammed Rehman and Sana Ahmed Khan Image copyright PA
Image caption Mohammed Rehman and Sana Ahmed Khan were found guilty of preparing terrorist acts

A husband and wife who plotted a terror attack in London have been jailed for a minimum of 27 and 25 years.

Mohammed Rehman, 25, discussed targeting the London Underground and Westfield shopping centre on social media under the name "Silent Bomber".

He and his wife Sana Ahmed Khan were convicted of preparing terrorist acts.

Jailing them both for life at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Baker told Rehman he had been "determined to fulfil the Islamic State's call for jihad".

The couple's trial had heard how bomb-making chemicals were found at Rehman's Reading home, where he had filmed himself setting off a small explosion in the back garden.

He had been planning an attack to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 7 July London bombings, the trial was told.

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Media captionA mobile phone video shows a test explosion

The role of 24-year-old Khan was to fund the chemicals needed to make a "huge" bomb.

Rehman, who was also convicted of possessing an article for terrorist purposes, was a "prolific" user of Twitter, the trial was told, posting extremist rhetoric alongside images of homemade devices and instructional material.

One tweet from his account read: "I have rigged my house to blow at the push of a button by my bedside if the popo [police] try to raid man. Nobody gets in the way of my jihad."

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption A photo of a tweet by Rehman saying a homemade explosive was his "key to paradise"

The judge told Rehman that the reason for his conversion "may never be fully known", adding that he was satisfied he had intended to carry out an act of terrorism within the United Kingdom.

"The type of act which you envisaged not only encompassed the use of explosive substances which would be used to maximum effect so as to cause multiple injuries and fatalities, but specifically included a suicide bombing; an act which envisaged martyrdom, a notion specifically resurrected by Islamic State in order to encourage this type of venture," Mr Justice Baker said.

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Media captionMohammed Rehman's mother: "I still can't believe he is my son... I doubt I'll ever forgive him"

Ahead of the sentencing hearing, Khan had sent the judge a handwritten letter saying she had divorced Rehman a couple of weeks previously and that she should have "distanced myself from him a long time ago".

The judge rejected her argument, telling Khan: "I am satisfied that it was you who became interested in the theological justification of its aims, and thereafter encouraged Mohammed Rehman to pursue its ideology."

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