Naseer Taj: Terror plotter planned to leave pregnant wife
A taxi driver who planned to leave his pregnant wife to join so-called Islamic State has been found guilty of terror offences.
Naseer Taj, 26, had prepared to travel to Syria, marry a jihadi bride and achieve martyrdom, his trial heard at the Old Bailey heard.
Taj, from Bedford, was found guilty of one charge of preparing terrorist acts and two of possessing terrorist information.
He is due to be sentenced in April.
The court heard Taj was "caught red-handed" on 29 December 2014 as he finalised his preparations at his Tudor Court flat in Victoria Road, Bedford.
The defence claimed Taj had planned to live peacefully in Syria with his new wife, but he had changed his mind about travelling shortly before his arrest.
However, police found evidence he had booked a New Year's Eve train to Brussels and an onward flight to Turkey.
The prosecution argued the return plane ticket "was intended to disguise his true intentions".
Police found combat boots and trousers, a utility belt and a type of scarf worn by fighters in the Middle East.
The prosecution said his mobile phone contained a "huge amount of extremist Islamist material" - including three editions of an al-Qaeda English language e-magazine called Inspire - which showed "a man who had become deeply supportive of violent radical Islamism".
Taj had assumed the name Abu Bakr Al-Kashmiri to open a Twitter account, which is no longer available.
The wallpaper on the account used an image of Mohammed Emwazi - the British Muslim known as Jihadi John who was filmed carrying out beheadings and was killed in a drone strike in November.
In his defence, Taj said he was adopting an online persona and "bigging himself up".
Police also said he had been in contact with Mohammed Uddin from Barking in east London who was sentenced to seven years in jail on Tuesday for terror offences.
He had also been in contact with a woman called Umm Jibreel - the woman police said he intended to marry when he got to Raqqa in Syria.
Det Insp Ryan Brammer, from the Eastern Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit, said: "It almost beggars belief that he was willing to leave his pregnant wife behind, but it shows how quickly people can become radicalised and the lengths that extremists are willing to go to in order to pledge their allegiance to their 'cause'."