Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

My IS lover repeatedly asked me to attack UK, Mad Hatter plot accused tells jury

The Old Bailey heard how Safaa Boular was 16 when she met Naweed Hussain and went on to have what she regarded as an online Islamic marriage in 2016.

A teenager accused of a Mad Hatter terror plot said her Islamic State lover encouraged her to launch an attack in the UK three times.

Safaa Boular, 18, allegedly discussed a grenade and gun attack on the British Museum with IS fighter Naweed Hussain in Syria.

When she was locked up on charges of attempting to travel to IS territory, she allegedly passed on the plot to her older sister Rizlaine Boular, 22.

The court heard how Safaa Boular was 16 when she met Hussain and went on to have what she regarded as an online Islamic marriage in 2016.

Naweed Hussain (Metropolitan Police/PA)

When she was stopped by police from joining him, Hussain urged her to drop out of school and do an attack in the UK instead, the Old Bailey heard.

Boular told jurors: “Around November (2016) he proposed to me about an attack at Christmas. He asked me if I was scared of being in an attack and I told him yes I am.

“Then he went back to the same usual lovey-dovey topics.”

Joel Bennathan QC, defending, asked: “What was Naweed’s attitude about you and him? Did you tell him you had your passport taken off you?”

A conversation between Safaa Boular and Naweed Hussain, which was shown to the Old Bailey (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Boular said: “He had hoped that somehow I would still be able to make it to Syria but I think around November time he realised me and him were never ever going to meet.

“He said even if I need a car or a knife that’s what I should do.”

Asked how he reacted when Boular rebuffed the idea, she said: “He did not mind. I just went back to the same conversation we had before, romantic, sweet.”

Mr Bennathan asked: “Did he ever say why you should carry out an attack?”

Safaa Boular chatted to Hussain via encrypted Telegram messages on a secret mobile phone (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Boular said: “He told me if he died first I would not be able to cope with the news of his death so it would be better if I died first. But when I told him I was scared he just dropped the topic.”

He raised the prospect again in early 2017, she said: “He suggested I could do something on Valentine’s Day. Again I refused. I assumed it was the usual stuff he talked about before, like car or knife attacks.”

But she told jurors that she did not even drive.

After her birthday in March, Hussain talked about tokarev and pineapples – guns and grenades – in relation to a proposed British Museum attack, the court heard.

A picture of a sofa was shown to the court (Metropolitan Police/PA)

But Boular insisted she never agreed to it, and had no idea it was even possible to get guns and grenades in Britain.

The 18-year-old chatted to Hussain via encrypted Telegram messages on a secret mobile phone she bought at Brixton Market.

She would communicate with him in her school sixth form lounge and at home in her bedroom and bathroom, she said.

She said: “Naweed asked me to send pictures of my body which I did. Initially I did not want to because I am a shy person but as my husband I did not think there was any problem being intimate with him.”

Naweed Hussain urged Safaa Boular to drop out of school and attack the UK, the Old Bailey heard (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Hussain also sent her explicit photographs of himself and told Boular to watch “X-rated material”, the court heard.

Hussain, in his 30s, from Coventry, also attempted to woo a Sun page three model, and fell for the newspaper sting.

Boular said: “He told me he was in the news. He said these conversations took place before he met me.”

The defendant told jurors she was aware of being under surveillance and was approached by an MI5 officer in Brixton.

Safaa Boular court case

She said: “Being stopped in the street was a very scary experience. She was a polite character but it’s still scary having a stranger know everything about you.”

Boular described her devastation at being told by a role playing officer posing as Hussain’s commander that he had been killed in Syria.

She said: “I was shocked. I was devastated. I was lost and confused. I did not know what to do. I think broken is the word.”

When Hussain died, Boular allegedly plotted to carry out the attack and join him in martyrdom.

In April last year, she passed the baton to her sister Rizlaine, 22, after she was charged with planning to travel to IS territory for terrorism, the Old Bailey has heard.

The sisters allegedly discussed the attack on London in coded conversation about an Alice In Wonderland-themed Mad Hatter’s tea party with cakes and cucumber sandwiches.

In a recorded call played to jurors, Rizlaine Boular said she wanted to have “an English tea party kind of thing, little tea cups, tea cakes and stuff”.

Mina Dich has admitted helping her daughter Rizlaine Boular (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Safaa Boular suggested an Alice In Wonderland theme, saying: “You can be the Mad Hatter ’cause your hair’s crazy.

“You can have cucumber and butter sandwiches. Butter and cucumber sandwiches would be nice.”

Her sister agreed, saying: “Yeah, I know, right.”

Boular told jurors that after Hussain died in a drone strike, it was an emotional time but she had coped.

She denied talking to her sister about her attack plans under the guise of a party, while she was in custody at Medway Secure Training Centre.

She told jurors she had seen an Alice In Wonderland movie and suggested it as a party theme because it was “typical English”.

Talk of cucumber sandwiches and cakes were not code words, she added.

Rizlaine Boular, of Clerkenwell, central London, has admitted planning a knife attack on London and mother Mina Dich, 44, has pleaded guilty to assisting her.

Safaa Boular, who lived at home with her mother in Vauxhall, south-west London, has denied two counts of preparing acts of terrorism.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph