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Would-be jihadist who used paintballing as training is jailed

Yousef Alsyed wanted to flight in Syria but was too afraid to come to court for sentencing.

A would-be jihadist who prepared himself for martyrdom in Syria by going paintballing with his brother has been locked up.

Yousef Alsyed intended to travel to the war-torn country and die fighting for extremists, but was too frightened to attend his sentencing, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

The 18-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to preparing terrorist acts and disseminating a terrorist publication.

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Ahmedeltigani Alsyed court case

Alsyed and his brother Ahmedeltigani, who were both born in Sudan, had taken part in a paintballing session at Blind Fire in Surrey just under two years ago as part of their training.

Ahmedeltigani Alsyed, 20, was jailed in April for four and a half years after being convicted of terrorist offences including disseminating execution videos and bomb-making guides.

Yousef Alsyed also forwarded an “extremely sickening” video featuring murder and decapitation to a Telegram group named Peace, judge Andrew Lees said.

The teenager had been referred in 2016 to police by his school and action was taken by Prevent, the government’s anti-terrorism programme.

But Yousef Alsyed had, during a family holiday to Egypt, looked into the possibility of travelling to Yemen with a view to making his way to Syria where, prosecutor Eleanor Darlow QC said, he intended to fulfil his “aspirations to be on the front line and thus reach paradise”.

He was arrested in February 2017, a few days after police searched his home.

Alsyed, who the court heard is in Belmarsh prison, was not present for the hearing on Thursday because he was “frightened of his sentence”, a doctor’s report read to the court said.

After an apparent delay in sentencing, Alsyed had a “mental breakdown”, his barrister Michel Massih QC said.

He told how he had witnessed his client “making these growling sounds, frothing at the mouth” and indicated Alsyed’s family’s concern that he was being held in Belmarsh, a high security jail.

Judge Lees told the court Alsyed, of Little Park Drive in Feltham, will serve his sentence of two years and three months in a young offenders institution.

Sentencing him in his absence the judge said: “The offences you have pleaded guilty to are extremely serious.”

He added: “It is difficult to say whether you would have travelled to Syria to commit terrorist acts and die as a martyr but that was your intention and I am sure it was your intention for many months.”

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