Pair facing jail for IS plot to kill soldiers and police in drive-by shootings
A pair of home-grown terrorists are facing lengthy jail sentences for plotting to kill soldiers, police officers and civilians in a series of Islamic State-inspired drive-by shootings.
Acting on instruction from mastermind Tarik Hassane, physics student Suhaib Majeed had got his hands on a gun and ammunition and was discussing buying an untraceable moped before police swooped to arrest him in September 2014.
His old school friend Hassane, nicknamed The Surgeon, was studying medicine in Sudan at the time but rushed back to London to carry on as a "lone wolf terrorist" before he too was picked up.
He identified Shepherd's Bush police station and the Parachute Regiment Territorial Army Barracks at White City as possible targets on Google Street View.
Midway through the Old Bailey trial, Hassane, 22, admitted conspiracy to murder and preparation of terrorist acts.
But his right-hand man Majeed, 21, denied the charges and was convicted on Wednesday, the fifth day of deliberations.
Two other defendants, Nyall Hamlett, 25, and Nathan Cuffy, 26, were acquitted of being part of the plot by helping to provide the gun.
Jurors were not told that Hassane and Majeed, from west London, had links to the same mosque associated with Mohammed Emwazi, also known as Jihadi John, who achieved notoriety before his death in Syria as a grisly executioner for IS.
Afterwards, Metropolitan Police Commander Dean Haydon said the terror plot was a "step up" in terms of complexity and the use of guns, which was a "real concern" for police.
Prosecutor Brian Altman QC had said Hassane and Majeed were heavily influenced by the rise of Islamic State, which pronounced a caliphate in June 2014.
Within days, Hassane pledged his allegiance to IS and encouraged his friends to follow suit. He was pictured posing with a gun in one hand and a book on Osama bin Laden in the other.
The other defendants showed signs of extremist views, including his close friend Majeed, who was studying at the prestigious King's College London and was chairman of its Islamic society.
The court heard that Majeed sent a picture of a dead fighter "laughing" to a Telegram chat group named Turnup Terror Squad, of which Hassane was also a member.
And he had a "grim" video of Jihadi John beheading a journalist on his iPad, jurors were told.
Majeed was an "essential cog" in the conspiracy, having set up a laptop to exchange encrypted messages with Hassane in Khartoum.
In them, Hassane repeatedly urged him to get the "P", "Z" and "C" together to set his deadly plan in motion.
The prosecution said P was code for money, Z was for a "zoom zoom" or moped and C was for "Creps" - their secret language for firearms, which were also referred to as types of trainers.
In September, they received "direct" encouragement when the IS official spokesman issued a fatwa to kill disbelievers in the West in a speech on YouTube.
Later the same month, Cuffy supplied a self-loading Baikal pistol with silencer and bullets to fellow Muslim convert and former Catholic altar boy Hamlett, who passed it on to Majeed.
It was one of five guns the "street criminal" had stashed at his home in sports bags which he claimed he was holding for three joint owners.
When armed police raided Majeed's home, the student was spotted tossing the gun and ammunition out of his bedroom window.
In his defence, Majeed said he wanted to give the gun to Hassane, who had offered to frighten an associate called Fatboy into handing over cash owed him from a PayPal fraud they were involved in.
Hamlett knew Majeed and Hassane through the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in Ladbroke Grove, west London, where he used to work as a cook, jurors were told.
He denied knowing what he had been asked to deliver to Majeed until the last minute. Cuffy also said he had no idea about the plot.
Cuffy, who worked at The Money Shop, had already pleaded guilty to possession of firearms with intent to endanger life relating to a small armoury of assorted guns at his home.
Majeed admitted having the Baikal self-loading pistol, silencer and ammunition but denied intent to endanger life. However, the jury convicted him of the more serious charge.
The director of the Al Manaar mosque has previously condemned the actions of those from Ladbroke Grove who have joined IS.
In a statement on the mosque's website, Saleha Islam said: "Al Manaar is a centre where we have up to 3,000 people attending every week, it is not a membership club and anyone can come and pray.
"The suggestion that the mosque has radicalised young men shows how ignorant people are of Islam and how mosques work."
Hamlett previously pleaded guilty to transferring a prohibited firearm and selling or transferring ammunition.
A sentencing date has yet to be set.
Sue Hemming, head of counter terrorism division at the CPS, said: "In the space of just four months the two defendants, one of whom had sworn his allegiance to Daesh, conspired to murder individuals on the streets of the UK, probably including police officers or servicemen.
"The pair planned to find a weapon, an untraceable moped and a garage to hide it in. This was the final part of their plan and possibly the only thing stopping them from carrying out an act of terrorism.
"These are dangerous men with strong beliefs. Had their plot not been exposed when it was, I am in little doubt that they would have gone on to murder.
"This prosecution was due in great part to the diligence of my prosecutors, counsel and the police who worked closely together to build a strong case to present to a jury."
Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "This is an excellent conviction as a result of a true partnership between the security service, Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command and the Crown Prosecution Service.
"It has prevented a murderous plot. I am particularly proud of our professionals from across the Met, including investigators, digital evidence experts and firearms officers who made the arrests. We all need their attention detail and courage and must never take them for granted."