Thursday 14 December 2017

Bridge terrorist was lining up security job at Wimbledon

Murderer: Khuram Butt
Murderer: Khuram Butt

Christopher Kelly in London

The London Bridge terror ringleader had been trying to obtain a job as a security guard at Wimbledon lawn tennis club.

Khuram Butt had set up an interview with the firm that supplies safety stewards to the summer tennis tournament, as well as Premier League football clubs.

Security services and counter-terrorism police are now investigating Butt's motive in trying to get the job.

One possibility is that Butt had considered targeting the tennis competition but decided to speed up the plot following the Manchester Arena bombing, and switched the attack to London Bridge.

Father-of-two Butt (27) had previously worked for six months on the London Underground.

Although he was under low-level investigation by MI5 and counter-terrorism police, Butt was able to get a job working at Westminster Underground Station as employers are not made aware of security services' concerns when performing criminal record checks.

A source close to the intelligence services said: "The security firm would check his background, but it does not have access to the police watch list or have knowledge of any MI5 investigation. There would have been no reason for him not to get the job.

"Butt could not only have caused serious damage but potentially helped other terrorists to get into one of these events."

Scotland Yard has now released photographs of the fake suicide belts Butt and his accomplices, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba, wore during the assault on London Bridge.

The terrorists had attached water bottles to leather belts and covered them in silver masking tape.

The belts were still being worn by the trio when they were shot dead by armed officers.

Commander Dean Haydon, who is leading the investigation, said: "I have not seen this tactic in the UK before, where terrorists create maximum fear by strapping fake explosives to themselves.

"Anyone who saw them on the night would have thought they were genuine. It is hard to speculate what the motive was for wearing the belts.

"It could be that they had plans to take the attack to a siege situation, or it might be that they saw it as protection from being shot themselves.

"The belt would have been visible to them, and if you are fighting back or aiming a shot at someone wearing the device, you would clearly be very aware that you could be caught in an explosion."

However, online communications intercepted between terror recruiters in the past have encouraged would-be suicide bombers to try to get themselves shot by police.


Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News