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Life for terror teen who plotted to bomb Elton John gig on 9/11 anniversary

Haroon Syed, 19, tried to get a suicide vest or machine gun and identified the Hyde Park event as a possible target.

A teenager who plotted to bomb an Elton John concert on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has been jailed for life.

Haroon Syed, 19, tried to get a suicide vest or machine gun and identified the Hyde Park event as a possible target.

He was snared online by officers from the British Security Service posing as a fellow extremist.

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Syer planned to mark the anniversary of 9/11 by bombing a concert given by Sir Elton John in Hyde Park (Matt Crossick/PA)

The Old Bailey heard the trigger for his radicalisation was the arrest of his older brother for plotting an Islamic State-inspired Poppy Day attack.

Syed, from Hounslow, west London, had admitted preparation of terrorist acts between April and September last year.

Mitigating, Mark Summers QC said it was a “crude, ill-thought-out” plan made at the behest of others.

The court heard Syed had fallen under the influence of members of Al-Muhajiroun (ALM), the banned group linked to jailed preacher Anjem Choudary.

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Anjem Choudary (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Despite the risk around the time of his brother’s arrest, Syed, slipped through the net of the Prevent anti-radicalisation team although his passport was seized in 2015.

Home Office approved de-radicalisation expert and Bradford imam Alyas Karmani told the court there should have been earlier intervention in his case.

Mr Summers added that Syed now publicly rejected his past beliefs and condemned the recent bomb attack at the Ariana Grande pop concert in Manchester.

But Judge Michael Topolski QC said the risk Syed posed warranted a discretionary life sentence and ordered him to serve a minimum of 16 and a half years.

Judge Topolski said: “Overall you were, and you remained intent upon and committed to, carrying out an act of mass murder in this country. You were not lured, you were not enticed, you were not entrapped.

“You became, and in my judgment as shown by your online activities away from your contact with Abu Yusuf, deeply committed to the ideology of a brutal and barbaric organisation that sought to hijack and corrupt an ancient and venerable religion for its own purposes and you wanted to be part of it.”

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A court artist sketch of Haroon Syed's brother Nadir (centre) at his trial where he was found guilty of plotting a terror attack around Remembrance Day last year (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Judge Topolski told Syed that he had been vulnerable and susceptible to radicalisation.

But he added: “Once you had found this new place to be, this stopped being a game, if it ever was one, and became something deadly serious.

“As you told the imam, you wanted to believe it was Daesh, you wanted to be a part of it. It made you feel like a man.”

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