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Friday, 26 June 2020
Muslim convert who plotted bomb attack on St Paul's Cathedral faces jail
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From the Telegraph and the London Evening Standard   Earlier here
Safiyya Amira Shaikh, a 37-year-old mother from Hayes in west London, born Michelle Ramsden, was convicted of the preparation of terrorist acts and dissemination of terrorist publications in February and should have been sentenced in May. Court hearings have been delayed for obvious reasons but the sentencing hearing began at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey on Monday. Her jihad plots were detailed in readiness, so that there was a public record of why she recieves the sentnece that will shortly be handed down, but the final part of the hearing was postponed that evening. I believe from the CCC list that she will be sentenced later this afternoon. 

To recap:

An ISIS-supporting woman who plotted to “kill as many people as possible” in a bomb attack on St Paul’s Cathedral is facing years in prison today. Safiyya Amira Shaikh, 37, wanted to detonate an explosive under the world-famous cathedral dome and had resolved to kill herself in a murderous spree in central London. She carried out a reconnaissance trip to St Paul’s and tried to contact an explosives expert online, arranging to take receipt of two bombs. However Shaikh had unwittingly been in contact with undercover officer as she revealed her terrorist plans.

The court has heard how Shaikh carried out detailed research on bombs and travelled to central London to conduct reconnaissance, selecting St Paul’s Cathedral as her main target and resolving to carry out the bombing herself. Shaikh looked for the best place in the cathedral to hide a second explosive device, and also said the hotel where she stayed would make a good target for an attack.

Alison Morgan, QC, prosecuting said: "The prosecution submit that at least from August 2019 the defendant engaged in a plan to commit a brutal attack on St Paul's Cathedral with clear stated intention of killing as many people as possible and destroy a symbolic building. She was by then a violent extremist who pledged her support for ISIS.

"She visited the Cathedral to assess its security arrangements and the best place to detonate a bomb.Her plan was to carry out the attack at Christmas with all the significance that entailed but she decided to give herself more time to plan and encourage others to commit an attack. She ultimately decided on Easter.

On her ‘Greenb1rds’ Telegram account, Shaikh repeatedly professed her support for ISIS, encouraged terrorism around the world, and shared documents to assist in terrorism. Court sketch from the Daily Mail

While posing as a man on the 'Greenb1rds' channel, she did not realise she was talking to undercover police.

"I want to kill a lot", she told the officer. "I would like to do church... a day like Christmas or Easter good, kill more. I always send threats. But I want to make threats real." She sent a picture of St Paul's Cathedral to the officer and wrote: 'I would like to do this place for sure. I would like bomb and shoot 'til death... I really would love to destroy that place and the kaffir [enemies of IS] there.' Just over a week later she visited St Paul's and sent videos to her contact, writing: "I will to the bomb under the dome. . . I would like bomb (sic) and shoot til death. But if that not possible I do other way. Belt or anything. I just want a lot to die. InshaAllah."

She added: "I want do something in hotel and church. Than (sic) run and kill kuffar (non-Muslims) everywhere I see them until am shot down. Is this possible. And to get weapons. If I had choice I blow the church to ground. With kuffar in it."

Her defence lawyers are likely to raise issues concerning Shaikh's vulnerability, the likelihood of the plot being carried out, who was the instigator and the honesty of her account in interviews.

Update in due course. 

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Posted on 06/26/2020 6:57 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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