Former Uber driver who planned attack on gay Pride parade and Madame Tussauds jailed

A jihadist who plotted a gun, knife and van rampage around London has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years.

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury planned to target popular attractions, including Madame Tussauds, the gay Pride parade and an open-top sightseeing bus, using a gun, knife and van, last year.

The 29-year-old former Uber driver from Luton, who was said to be driven by “dreams of martyrdom”, was arrested three days before the Pride parade in summer 2019 after he unknowingly revealed his plans to undercover police officers.

Chowdhury bragged to them about deceiving a jury which cleared him of a sword attack on police outside Buckingham Palace at a previous trial at the Old Bailey in December 2018.

But the jury at a separate subsequent trial found him guilty of terror offences in February, little more than a year later.

Chowdhury was handed the life sentence at Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday.

Appearing in court wearing a grey tracksuit and face mask, he was sentenced for convictions of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, collecting information likely to be useful to someone preparing an act of terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications.

Sentencing, Judge Andrew Lees said he was satisfied that Chowdhury was dangerous and posed a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm.

He said: The danger that you present is ongoing, it’s not possible to say when that danger will abate.

Four covert officers, posing as like-minded extremists, befriended and monitored Chowdhury after he was freed from HMP Belmarsh when jurors cleared him in December 2018 of slashing police with a sword outside the Queen’s London home while shouting Allahu Akbar.

Within a week of his release he had begun posting extremist messages online.

Over the course of a five-month surveillance operation detectives gathered crucial information about Chowdhury’s mindset and plans after winning his trust.

Chowdhury’s subsequent trial at Woolwich Crown Court heard that the ex-chicken shop worker prepared for his potential attack by lifting weights, practising stabbing, rehearsing beheading techniques as well as booking shooting range training and trying to acquire a real gun.

The trial heard that he had a document on his phone titled “guidance for doing just terror operations” which included instructions on how to kill people with knives.

At the sentencing hearing on Thursday, prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC argued that Chowdhury should received a life sentence as a pre-sentence report showed he posed a significant risk to the public of causing serious harm through potential future offending.

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