Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Couple planned anti-Jewish attack

Couple convicted at Manchester Crown Court of planning a terrorist attack

A woman hairdresser has been convicted of planning a terror attack in the Jewish neighbourhood of a city.

Shasta Khan, 38, and her husband, Mohammed Sajid Khan, 33, bought substances and equipment from supermarkets to assemble an improvised explosive device.

Police found a cache of terror-related material after being called to a domestic dispute at the couple's home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, last July.

Beheading videos, propaganda glorifying Osama bin Laden and bomb-making guides were seized along with peroxide and bleach, used by Shasta Khan in her hairdressing work, which together with electrical equipment were being readied to make a bomb.

A jury at Manchester Crown Court found Shasta Khan guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism and two counts of possessing information useful for committing or preparing for an act of terrorism. She was cleared of a third count of the latter charge.

Her husband pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism. Both will be sentenced at 2pm on Friday. British-born Muslim Shasta Khan was convicted by a majority ruling of 11-1 on the main charge of preparing for acts of terrorism.

They both became radicalised by material found on the internet such as an al Qaida magazine called Inspire. In response, the pair prepared to carry out a terrorist attack on British soil, with the most likely target being an orthodox Jewish area of Prestwich.

They met via a Muslim dating website in July 2010 and married soon afterwards but by July of last year the relationship was suffering real problems which resulted in Sajid Khan assaulting his father-in-law during a row.

Police were called to the address in Foster Street and a "wholly unexpected turn of events occurred", prosecutor Bobbie Cheema said. "A member of her family, one of her brothers, told the police, in Shasta Khan's presence, 'I think he's a home-grown terrorist'," she told the jury. The wife then took the opportunity to "spill the beans" but left out her own involvement in any terror offences.

Shasta Khan told the jury she had no involvement in terrorism or any of her husband's activities. But she was found guilty of acquiring substances, equipment and information of use in making explosives and assembling an improvised explosive device between August 10 2010 and July 24 2011. She was also convicted of two counts of possessing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing for an act of terrorism in relation to computer files. She was cleared of a possession charge in relation to a document named 39 Ways To Serve And Participate In Jihad.

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