Syria charge teenager 'downloaded Briton beheading video'


A teenager who allegedly attempted to travel to Syria to fight for Islamic State downloaded videos showing a British aid worker being beheaded before fleeing from his home during the early hours, a court has heard.

Ednane Mahmood, 19, from Blackburn, Lancashire, searched for "British man beheaded" on his Toshiba laptop before downloading a video that showed the beheading of British aid worker David Haines and aid worker Alan Henning kneeling on the ground after his kidnap, Manchester Crown Court was told.

Mahmood is on trial charged with attempting to travel to Syria to commit acts of terrorism.

He denies the charge and also pleaded not guilty to two counts of providing others with internet links to speeches and propaganda and at the time of doing so was reckless as whether his conduct would be a direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Wearing a grey suit, he listened intently as jurors were told that he left his family home by taxi in the early hours of September 18, 2014, to board a flight from Manchester Airport to Bulgaria leaving a letter addressed, "To Family" stating his intentions.

Jurors were told that days earlier, on September 13, he downloaded a video which began with David Cameron talking about Islamic State before images showing the beheading of Mr Haines.

Prosecutor Mr Julian Evans said that the following day Mahmood, "undeterred by this graphic and violent imagery", began looking up cheap flights to Bulgaria and Turkey.

Mahmood was to then purchase a return flight to the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, on September 15, 2014, so as not to arouse suspicion.

Mr Evans added: "Mr Mahmood planned to travel to Syria with the intention of committing acts of terrorism. That is the overwhelming inference to be drawn from the nature of the subjects he was researching and the material he was viewing in the lead up to his departure."

Mr Evans added: "He took that early morning flight intending to travel to Syria to engage in acts of terrorism, that is namely to fight in Syria with and on behalf of the group or organisation then known as ISIS.

"When he left he did so with little money, few possessions and did so with no means of communicating with others."

The court heard that his family had been unaware of his intentions and on the day that he fled had reported him missing to police.

During a search of his Lancashire home police found a letter informing his family he had left.

Mr Evans said: "He was telling his family in the clearest terms that he was leaving the comforts of his life in the UK in order to fight abroad on behalf of Allah and on behalf of Muslims. He did not care what others might think of him and his decision and he was well aware that he was putting himself in harm's way and that he might die as a consequence."

The prosecution said that Mahmood's interest in Syria, Jihad and ISIS was said to have developed over time from 2012.

In the month before his departure the prosecution said his searches became "increasingly acute".

In one private Facebook message to a male, promoting ISIS as unstoppable, he wrote "I love this vid".

By July 2014 he was posting links to videos and looking at information on the internet about ISIS.

An examination of the Toshiba laptop recovered from his family home showed that he posted links to ISIS videos showing militants shooting soldiers and suicide bombers.

In August 2014 he appeared to describe ISIS as the "victorious group".

Jurors were told that later that month he searched YouTube for terms concerning the American journalist James Foley who was beheaded by ISIS.

On August 31, 2014, he posted an image on Facebook with the words, "I wish I could fight in the cause of Allah and then be killed, and then fight, and then be killed, and then fight, and then be killed."

But the court was to hear that he never got to Syria and on September 20 and from an Internet cafe he was in Twitter communication with his brother who persuaded him to come back to the UK.

The case continues.