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Thursday 28 August 2014

White Muslim convert among three British radicals jailed for terrorism

Margaret Davis

Published 25/04/2013 | 11:56

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Richard Dart who was jailed for six years at the Old Bailey in London today for terrorist offences.
Richard Dart who was jailed for six years at the Old Bailey in London today for terrorist offences.

THREE British Islamic extremists including a white Muslim convert and a former police community support officer have been jailed for terrorism.

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Richard Dart, the son of teachers from Dorset, and his co-conspirators, Jahangir Alom and Imran Mahmood, were sentenced at the Old Bailey for engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism.

They admitted the offence between July 2010 and July last year at a previous hearing last month.

Dart was jailed for six years, Alom for four years and six months and Mahmood for nine years and nine months.

Mr Justice Simon told the trio they held "radical Islamist beliefs and have shown yourselves to be committed to acts of terrorism".

Mahmood and Dart were both given extended sentences, meaning that they will serve two-thirds of their prison terms rather than half, and they will spend five years on licence.

Dart refused to stand when he was sentenced, saying: "I don't wish to stand up, I believe ruling and judging is only for Allah."

The judge said that they were all "committed fundamentalists" who would have been prepared to kill.

He told Dart and Mahmood: "I'm satisfied to the required criminal standard that neither of you had ruled out an attack in the United Kingdom, and that you, Mahmood, were looking at arming yourself with a bomb."

Dart and Alom travelled to Pakistan to try to get terrorist training, and took advice from Mahmood who had already visited the country.

Former BBC security guard Dart also discussed bomb making with Mahmood, and military repatriation town Wootton Bassett as a potential target.

Police discovered fragments of text on Dart's laptop that revealed that the pair had used the computer to have a "silent conversation" to avoid possible surveillance bugs.

They would open a Word document and take it in turns to type, before deleting the text and mistakenly assuming that none of it would be stored on the machine.

However forensic experts were able to plough through 2,000 pages of computer code to decipher fragments of what was said.

These included Mahmood making a reference to Wootton Bassett and then adding "if it comes down to it it's that or even just to deal with a few MI5 MI6 heads".

Counter-terrorism teams also believe that the pair used the same tactic walking down the street with a mobile phone.

Dart and Mahmood were both born in the UK, while Alom was born in Bangladesh but is a British citizen.

A pre-sentence report concluded that the trio are all dangerous offenders.

Dart, 30, of Broadway, Ealing, west London; Mahmood, 22, from Dabbs Hill Lane, Northolt, west London, and Alom, 26, of Abbey Road, Stratford, east London had all been stopped at airports while travelling to and from Pakistan.

When Mahmood was stopped at Manchester in 2010, traces of explosives were found on two rucksacks that he had with him.

He later admitted that he had received rudimentary training in explosives while in Pakistan.

Dart, who changed his name to Salahuddin al-Britani, became involved in extremism after moving from his home town Weymouth to east London and fraternising with radical preacher Anjem Choudary.

His beliefs were brought into the spotlight as part of a television documentary My Brother The Islamist, by his stepbrother Robb Leech.

Alom joined the Territorial Army in 2006 as part of the G Company 7th Battalion the Rifles, but did not complete his training due to medical reasons.

The following year he became a PCSO but left the job in September 2009.

Today Mr Justice Simon said that he and Dart were "the object of suspicion" for their fellow radicals, and may have felt the need to prove themselves.

Alom had his own contact with a fourth man, Mohammed Tariq Nasar, a Briton now living in Pakistan, to try to get terrorist training, it is claimed. Mr Nasar has not been charged with any offence.

The trio were arrested on July 5 last year just before the start of the Olympics, and were charged on July 18.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, from the Met's counter-terrorism command, said: "These are dangerous men. Mahmood had received terrorist training in Pakistan and suggested he had knowledge of how to make home-made explosives, while Dart and Alom made great efforts to travel to Pakistan and aspired to seek training from terrorist groups there.

"They all were clearly aware of anti-surveillance techniques as shown by the use of silent conversations and expressed a desire to carry out terrorist attacks.

"This was a complex investigation carried out jointly by the counter-terrorism command and the Security Service but a mixture of dedicated, diligent, traditional detective work combined with the latest technology and computer techniques brought these men to justice and made the public safer.

"This case serves as a classic example of how terrorists live in our midst while preparing their acts and their determination to travel overseas to train before returning to the UK.

"It also illustrates the balance we need to achieve between maintaining public safety while gathering sufficient evidence to secure a conviction while maintaining the confidence of all our communities."

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