A British Muslim convert who had pleaded guilty to plotting an Islamic State (ISIS) inspired terrorist attack on targets in London, including the city’s shopping hub of Oxford Street and Madame Tussauds wax museum, has been jailed for life by a UK judge on Wednesday (6).
Lewis Ludlow, who had admitted last year to swearing allegiance to ISIS and preparing to drive a van through major targets in the British capital, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a requirement to serve a minimum of at least 15 years behind bars before being considered for parole.
“Your extremism ran very deep and for some time. There could be no other explanation for anyone planning to kill innocent people in a van for ideological reasons, said Judge Nicholas Hilliard during a sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey court in London.
“No other sentence other than life imprisonment will be appropriate. There is much work to be done and much of it is in your own hands,” he said.
The judge dismissed a claim Ludlow made during hearings earlier this year that he had disengaged from the terror plot early on. He also said there was no evidence that the 27-year-old had changed his mindset before being arrested in April last year.
Giving evidence in January 2019, autistic Ludlow claimed he was “bitter” and “heartbroken” when he was barred from the Philippines. He said at first his ISIS-supporting friend in the Philippines, Abu Yaqeen, asked for money then talked him into plotting an attack in Britain.
“He said the best way to do so was using a ram attack. He said in order to achieve such a spectacular attack we should use a truck bomb attack to achieve the necessary effect, Ludlow had told the court.
He was arrested by the UK’s counter-terrorism police in April 2018 but refused to explain himself when he was interviewed.
Police later recovered torn-up scraps of paper from Ludlow’s bin detailing potential attack sites, including Madame Tussauds, Oxford Street, St. Paul’s Cathedral and a “Shia temple in Romford”. In details of a potential attack on Oxford Street, he referred to using a van mounting the pavement, noting the lack of safety barriers.
In August last year, Ludlow pleaded guilty to plotting an attack in the UK and funding ISIS abroad.
Ludlow, nicknamed The Eagle, first came to the attention of British police in 2010, when he attended a demonstration led by radical Pakistani-origin preacher Anjem Choudary and his now-banned Al-Muhajiroun (ALM) group.
He became the subject of intense surveillance early last year when he began preparations for a mass casualty terror attack.