A teenager has been found guilty of hatching a plot to behead a British soldier after being inspired by the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.
Brusthom Ziamani, 19, was arrested in an east London street last August carrying a black flag, a 12in (30cm) knife and a hammer in a rucksack, having earlier researched the location of Army cadet bases in the south east of the capital. He plotted an attack on UK soil because he had no way of getting to Syria to become a jihadist there, he admitted.
After being kicked out of his home when his Jehovah’s Witness parents discovered his new-found religion, Ziamani turned to extremists in the Muslim group al-Muhajiroun – or ALM – who gave him money, clothes and a place to stay. He was given a bed in a Camberwell flat which became a hotbed of extremism and was radicalised with alarming speed.
He attended their talks in the basement of a Halal sweet shop in Whitechapel and bought a black flag to take on their demonstrations, saying “I’m going to rock it everywhere I go in the Kaffirs’ face”.
When his then girlfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, rejected his attempts to convert her he threatened to “wipe her out”.
After just months of learning about the Muslim religion, he posted comments on Facebook that he was “willing to die in the cause of Allah” and saying: “Sharia law on its way on our streets. We will implement it, it’s part of our religion.”
Ziamani even revealed his plans in a letter addressed to his parents and written weeks before his arrest. At the time he was first arrested last June on an unrelated matter, police found a ripped-up letter in his jeans pocket in which he wrote about mounting an attack on a British soldier and expressed the desire to die a martyr.
Officers found a letter written by Ziamani in which he talked of the “ISIB Islamic States of Ireland and Britain” and would “wage war against the British government on this soil”. He called on his “hellfire brothers” to carry out a “9/11, 7/7 and Woolwich” every day.
The 11-strong jury of seven women and four men retired to consider its verdict on Wednesday morning. Ziamani was convicted on Thursday afternoon and will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on March 20.