Teenager to be sentenced for terror offences
A teenager who blew his student loan and educational grants on travelling to join Islamic State (IS) will be sentenced today for terror offences.
Yahya Rashid, 19, used a forged BTEC certificate to get on a course at Middlesex University in London despite having an IQ of between 65 and 70.
He then used cash he was entitled to claim to take four friends from his mosque with him to the Turkey/Syria border via Morocco in February.
Rashid's trial at Woolwich Crown Court heard that his friends crossed the border to Syria. But the teenager, aged just 18 at the time, backed out and remained in Turkey after talking to his father, before returning to the UK and being arrested.
The defence had claimed Rashid, whose family is originally from Somalia, was a vulnerable young man with a low IQ who had done the right thing by turning back, before being arrested.
Defence barrister Mark McDonald told the jury the teenager did not want to fight for IS, but simply wanted to live in what he thought was an "Islamic utopia".
But he was found guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation for committing an act of terrorism, and engaging in conduct with the intention of assisting others to commit acts of terrorism last week.
Rashid, of Willesden in north-west London, will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court.