Schoolteacher among group of men on trial for planning UK terror attack

Three of the suspects on trial
Three of the suspects on trial

A terror suspect, who allegedly agreed to help another man acquire a gun for an attack in London, went on trial along with three others today.

Nadeem Ilyas Patel, from east London, was charged with possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence in May last year.

The 26-year-old was remanded in custody along with Umar Ahmed Haque, 25, Muhammed Abid, 27, and Abuthater Mamun, 19, who are all on trial at the Old Bailey court in London.

Patel denies conspiracy to possess a firearm but has pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited weapon.

Haque, a schoolteacher, emerged as the mastermind of the group as the court was told that he was “fascinated” by the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group.

Big Ben, Heathrow Airport, a shopping centre and police officers were among his planned targets for a terrorist attack.

“He was fascinated by the warped and extreme ideology of Islamic State. As he later told the police after his arrest, he was their loyal follower,” said prosecutor Mark Heywood.

Haque was inspired by the attack on the UK Parliament in March 2017, which killed five people, and he was recorded outlining his violent plans to Mamun.

“Umar Haque had determined in 2016 and early 2017 to carry out a violent attack or attacks, with others if he could, in this country,” Heywood said, adding that he also influenced students, aged between 11 and 14, whom he taught at the Lantern of Knowledge Islamic School in east London.

“His methods were to expose them to information and video recordings, of the kind that no one should expose to children, and even have them enact scenarios of violent action against police,” he told the court.

Haque denies two counts of preparing to commit terrorist acts, one charge of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and one count of dissemination of terrorist publications.

He has admitted possessing three copies of a terrorist publication and a second charge of dissemination of terror publications.

Mamun is accused of assisting him to raise funds for a terror plot and Abid is charged with failing to tell the authorities about the alleged plans.