London Bridge attacker was out on licence after being jailed for terrorism

Usman Khan, the 28-year-old who killed two people on London Bridge before being shot dead by police, was a convicted terrorist.

In late December 2010, Khan, along with eight others, was charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and other terrorism offences.

They denied plotting to target sites such as the London Stock Exchange, the Houses of Parliament and the US embassy, as well as religious and political figures.

On February 1, 2012, the nine pleaded guilty to a variety of terrorist offences, just before their trial was due to begin.

Four admitted an al Qaida-inspired plot to detonate a bomb at the London Stock Exchange.

Khan and two others admitted to a lesser charge – engaging in conduct for the preparation of terrorism between November 1 and December 21, 2010 – namely travelling to and attending operational meetings, fundraising for terrorist training, preparing to travel abroad and assisting others in travelling abroad.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC, opening the Crown’s case at the start of a three-day sentencing hearing on February 6, 2012, said: “These defendants had in overview decided that ultimately they would be responsible for very serious acts of terrorism.

“What was observed during the indictment period was planning for the immediate future, not involving suicide attacks, so that there would be a long-term future which would include further acts of terrorism.”

Usman Khan
Usman Khan was named by police as having killed two people on London Bridge (West Midlands Police/PA)

Khan, then aged 20, was secretly recorded talking about plans to recruit UK radicals to attend a training camp in Kashmir.

He said there were only three possible outcomes for him and his fellow jihadists: victory, martyrdom or prison.

Khan’s then home in Persia Walk, Stoke-on-Trent, was bugged as he discussed plans for the firearms training camp, which was to be disguised as a legitimate madrassa, an Islamic religious school, the court heard.

Discussing terrorist fundraising, he said Muslims in Britain could earn in a day what people in Kashmir, a disputed region divided between Pakistan and India, are paid in a month.

He went on: “On jobseeker’s allowance we can earn that, never mind working for that.”

Incident on London Bridge
Police on Cannon Street in London near the scene of a terror attack on London Bridge (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Khan said he could only see three results: “There’s victory, what we hope for, there’s shahada (death as martyrs), or there’s prison.”

Khan and Nazam Hussain, 26, were given indeterminate sentences for public protection and to serve at least eight years behind bars, while Mohammed Shahjahan 27, was jailed for a minimum term of eight years and 10 months.

Passing sentence, the judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, said this was a “serious, long-term venture in terrorism” that could also have resulted in atrocities in Britain.

Incident on London Bridge
Forensic officers at the scene of a terror attack on London Bridge (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

He said: “It was envisaged by them all that ultimately they and the other recruits may return to the UK as trained and experienced terrorists available to perform terrorist attacks in this country, on one possibility contemplated in the context of the return of British troops from Afghanistan.”

The trio appealed their sentences and on April 16, 2013 had their indeterminate sentences quashed by the Court of Appeal, which instead imposed determinate custodial sentences.

Allowing their sentence appeals, Lord Justice Leveson, sitting with Mr Justice Mitting and Mr Justice Sweeney, ruled that Shahjahan now had to serve 17 years and eight months and Khan and Hussain 16 years.

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