Bizarre Prince Harry death plot: Sexy beach pics Muslim convert in court
A Northern Ireland fraudster turned Muslim convert planned to assassinate Prince Harry with a pistol in a bizarre plot he named Operation Regal, writes Sara Girvin.
A London court was told on Friday how Co Down man Mark Townley, who changed his name to Ashraf Islam by deed poll in 2010, confessed to police he had “advanced plans” to kill the royal.
The heavily tattooed 31-year-old, from Bangor, walked into a police station in May, the day after Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich, south east London, and told an officer of his intentions.
Islam described Drummer Rigby as a “soft target” and said he didn’t agree with the gruesome murder of the serviceman.
But he then revealed he intended to kill Prince Harry, at the time the third in line to the throne, because the Afghanistan veteran “had blood on his hands for power and profit”.
Police investigating his claims found a document on his laptop that read: “Aim for target. No civilians to be injured.
“Dress code is the biker look. Use low-calibre pistol at close range. Not to be viewed as Islamist extremist.”
London’s Isleworth Crown Court heard that Islam spent 10 days in Thailand “getting his fitness to a higher level” before returning to the UK.
During that time, he also used his laptop to research Prince Harry’s protection team, his engagements and his general whereabouts.
Islam had been watching the Horse Guards Parade and planned to disarm an officer while disguised as a tourist and use that weapon to kill the prince.
He then schemed to send a phone warning to create a diversion.
A video police found showed him making threats to kill Prince Harry to camera whilst he was in Malaysia.
After landing at Heathrow from Thailand, Islam checked into a Travelodge and at 11am the next morning went to Hounslow police station in west London.
A prosecutor told Isleworth Crown Court on Friday: “He told an officer he had come to the station because he wanted to admit to a serious incident which he would commit the next day. He claimed he was being monitored by UK security.”
The would-be killer said he decided to confess to his grisly plans because he was feeling “scared and nervous” on the morning of May 23.
Islam pleaded guilty to one count of making a threat to kill at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on May 25.
Convicted fraudster Islam set tongues wagging last year after returning to his hometown of Bangor following a spell in Maghaberry jail and a period in Dublin.
During an interview with Sunday Life, the once clean cut Islam who described himself as a “self confessed narcissist” shared bizarre photographs of him posing with models wearing both lacy underwear and Muslim garb.
He admitted to using several pseudonyms to commit fraud across the UK.
But he said he was back in Bangor to make a fresh start, reinventing himself as a “part-time” Muslim working in the porn business and on his self-help book written while in Maghaberry Prison.
He also shared his controversial plans to release and explicit film entitled Jesus Christ Porn Star on Christmas Day.
Speaking of his religious beliefs he told Sunday Life: “Many Muslims wouldn’t agree with the fact I take part in adult films and photographs but it works for me — I’m happy and I love what I do.”
His sentencing has been adjourned until November so a mental health assessment can be completed.