LONDON, July 4 (Xinhua) — A teenager who plotted to bomb a crowd in London was sentenced Monday to life imprisonment after admitting terrorism charges.
Haroon Ali Syed, a 19-year-old from Hounslow in West London, will serve at least 16 years before being considered for release from prison on parole. Syed, who pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey court in London to preparing for acts of terrorism between April 12 and Sept. 9 of 2016, admitted trying to get a machine gun, handguns, a suicide vest and a bomb. But when he couldn’t raise any money through loan applications, Syed settled instead on trying to source a bomb, with a special request for it to be packed with nails so he could detonate it in a crowded place such as London’s busy Oxford Street or a major pop concert by singer Elton John in London’s Hyde Park.
In April 2016, Syed began unwittingly speaking to a security services officer online, requesting assistance to source weapons. He told the officer of his ambitions to obtain firearms and remotely detonate a bomb in a crowded place. Subsequent digital forensic analysis of his electronic devices showed he carried out numerous Internet searches for ISIS propaganda, bomb making guides and what appear to be articles justifying the killing of women and children. Officers from the London Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command arrested Syed at his home in Hounslow on Sept. 8 last year.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Counter Terrorism Command, said: “Our close working relationship with MI5 (Security Service) ensured we uncovered evidence that Syed was plotting to kill innocent members of the public.” “Today‘s sentence has ensured that a dangerous individual harboring violent, terrorist ambitions has been removed from our community,” he said. “This case is another example of the severity of the current threat from terrorism, which we cannot tackle alone,” he said, adding: “I urge communities to continue to support the police by reporting anything they feel is suspicious.”