The jury trying three men accused of helping the July 7 suicide bombers plan their attack by carrying out a two-day reconnaissance mission in London has failed to reach verdicts.
Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem and Mohammed Shakil visited the London Eye, the Natural History Museum and the London Aquarium while allegedly pinpointing targets during the trip seven months before the 2005 atrocity.
The trio, from Beeston, Leeds, stood trial charged with conspiring with the four bombers and others to cause explosions between 17 November 2004 and 8 July 2005. But following the three-month trial at Kingston Crown Court, a jury of eight women and four men could not decide on their verdicts. The judge discharged the jury yesterday after nearly 66 hours of deliberations.
Paul Taylor, for the prosecution, said the Crown would take "a little time" to consider if it will seek a retrial. Mr Justice Gross said: "I will work from the assumption that there might be a retrial and that it is likely to be in the new year."
A provisional date for a directions hearing has been set for late September. The three men were remanded in custody.
The jury had been told that Mr Ali, 25, Mr Saleem, 28, and Mr Shakil, 32, visited a series of locations on 16 and 17 December 2004, which bore a "striking similarity" to where the bombs were detonated on July 7 the following year.
Mohammed Siddique Khan, Shezhad Tanweer, Hasib Hussain and Jermaine Lindsay detonated rucksack devices packed with explosives on three Tube trains and a bus killing 52 people and injuring up to 1,000 more.
The trial heard that the three defendants travelled from Leeds to London with Hussain, who later detonated his bomb on the No 30 bus in Tavistock Square, claiming 13 lives.
There they met Lindsay, who killed 26 people on a Piccadilly line underground train, and the group stayed overnight in a hostel. The prosecution alleged that the trip was "an essential preparatory step in the plan to bring death and destruction to the heart of the UK".
The three defendants admitted making the visit but claimed it was an entirely innocent "social outing" and the purpose was for Mr Ali to visit his sister. They said they used the opportunity to see some of the capital's landmarks at the same time.
All three defendants were close to the July 7 ringleader Khan, who killed six people at Edgware Road, and his right-hand man Tanweer, the Aldgate bomber who murdered seven others. The trio, who were monitored by security services in early 2004, made no secret in court of their support for jihad, but they denied advocating suicide bombings and any knowledge of the July 7 plot.