A man has been sentenced at the Old Bailey to a total of 30 years’ imprisonment after a joint investigation between the Metropolitan Police Service, MI5 and the FBI foiled his plot to kill the Prime Minister Theresa May. As part of his intended attack, Naa’imur Rahman, 20 (23.07.97) of north London, sought to detonate a bomb in the vicinity of Downing Street. Rahman planned to use the ensuing chaos to gain access to Downing Street so that he could assassinate the Prime Minister.
However, unbeknown to Rahman, as he was putting his plans together he was confiding with a network of online role-players from the Metropolitan Police Service, MI5 and the FBI who, in turn, introduced him to real-world undercover police officers from the Met’s Counter-Terrorism Command.
Rahman went on to meet these officers on a number of occasions, culminating in his arrest in November 2017 shortly after he collected what he believed to be a homemade bomb, but which was in fact a harmless replica.
Metropolitan Police Service Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, who’s the senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism policing in the UK, said: “Rahman is an extremely dangerous and determined individual. His target was the Prime Minister, but he had no qualms about killing innocent bystanders in the process of reaching her. In fact, at one point he told a covert counter-terrorism officer that even if he couldn’t reach the Prime Minister, he just wanted to strike fear into people. This case demonstrates the strength of the co-operation between the UK’s intelligence agencies and the FBI. As a result, we were able to disrupt Rahman’s plans and ensure that a terrorist attack was prevented.”
Background to the arrest
In September 2017, Rahman unwittingly contacted an online role-player working with the FBI, who in turn introduced him to online role-players from MI5 and the Metropolitan Police Service’s Counter-Terrorism Command. Rahman gradually revealed his ambition to carry out a terrorist attack targeting the Prime Minister. He gave details of the preparatory work he had been doing, including carrying out reconnaissance around Parliament.
Counter-terrorism detectives were able to recover CCTV footage of him carrying out the reconnaissance around Westminster.
Rahman also sought the officers’ help to obtain a bomb and gave an undercover counter-terrorism police officer his jacket and a rucksack to be converted into a suicide jacket and bomb in a bag.
The officer again met Rahman in the former’s car a week later, on 28 November 2017, by which time the items had been converted into replica improvised explosive devices.
On receipt of the items, Rahman told the covert officer: “Now I’ve seen everything, it feels good,” not knowing that moments later he would be arrested.
As Rahman walked away from the car, waiting Metropolitan Police Service counter-terrorism officers and specialist officers from the Met Police’s Firearms Command moved in and arrested him.
Following a four-week trial, Rahman was found guilty (on Wednesday 18 July at the Old Bailey) of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts.
Covert policing “a crucial tactic”
DAC Haydon continued: “Every day, the counter-terrorism network employs a plethora of tactics to investigate terrorism and keep the public safe from terrorists. Covert policing is a crucial tactic and, in this case, it enabled us to understand fully what Rahman intended to do and how serious he was about doing it. Covert officers were able to gather strong evidence for the prosecution, and it follows that the Jury have found Raham guilty. This case is a reminder of the continuing threat from terrorism and the need for us to all be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour.”
Rahman pleaded guilty during his trial to engaging in conduct in assisting the preparation of terrorist acts. This charge relates to a “sponsorship” video he filmed for one of his associates.
As part of the investigation, another individual – Mohammad Aqib Imran, 22 (28.01.96), of South East Birmingham – was charged with collection of information useful to terrorism in relation to a terrorist guidance book which specialist forensic analysts recovered from his Kindle following his arrest on 28 November 2017. He too was found guilty of this offence on 18 July.
Imran was also charged with engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts in relation to his alleged plan to travel to Libya to join Daesh. However, the Jury was unable to reach a verdict on this matter and a retrial is due to take place on a date to be confirmed.
Imran will be sentenced following the conclusion of his retrial.