UK Convert Found Guilty of Suicide Bomb Plot In Shopping Center
July 17, 2009
Andrew Ibrahim, a Muslim convert, guilty of planning terror attack
Andrew Ibrahim, a former public schoolboy who converted to Islam, has been found guilty of planning a terrorist attack on a shopping centre in Bristol using a homemade suicide vest.
By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
Mr Ibrahim, 20, who changed his first name to Isa, had adopted the "extremist mindset" of Osama bin Laden after watching extremist preachers and viewing a series of suicide videos on the internet.
The A-level chemistry student and son of a hospital consultant had also taught himself to make HMTD, the same explosive used by the July 7 bombers, over the internet.
He was arrested by armed police as he walked to Bristol city centre on April 17 last year and when police raided his one-bedroom flat in the suburb of Westbury-on-Trym they found a family assortment sized biscuit box containing explosives, a "crude electrical circuit" to set it off and, hanging on the back of his bedroom door, a homemade suicide vest.
Winchester Crown Court heard that between December 2007 and April 2008, Ibrahim had become increasingly radical, growing a beard and wearing Islamic clothing while justifying September 11 and praising the hook-handed preacher Abu Hamza.
"He said he felt the country looked like the inside of a dirty toilet with a minefield outside, as described by Hamza in one of his lectures," Mark Ellison QC, prosecuting, told the jury.
Ibrahim admitted possessing explosives but claimed he was just "role playing" the part of a terrorist.
A student at City of Bristol College, he had been expelled from a series of private schools after becoming addicted to heroin and crack cocaine.
He was also spending protracted periods playing computer games.
CCTV later recovered from what is now the Mall shopping centre in Broadmead, central Bristol, showed Ibrahim wondering around with a mobile phone on April 7 last year, apparently noting the locations of rubbish bins and timing how long it would take to walk between them.
His notes included: "Food court dense area."
But Mr Ellison told the court that Ibrahim had "progressed in the direction of martyrdom by the time of his arrest."
Over the next few days he began buying hydrogen peroxide from Boots and hexamine tablets from a shop called Oswald Bailey in order to make his bomb while carrying out research on the internet.
On Friday April 11, he visited the home of his father, a consultant pathologist, where he used the computer to search for the suicide videos of British terrorists including the July 7 bomber Mohammed Sidique Khan.
Three days later he used the "resource room" at the City of Bristol College, where he was studying, to download videos of experiments with HMTD along with a film of a suicide bomber in Iraq and a fatwa [religious ruling] by Osama bin Laden.
By that evening he was conducting his own experiments, filming himself on his mobile phone and telling the camera: "Hi everyone today's experiment is with HMTD or hexamethylene triperoxide diamine."
In one of the experiments he nearly blew himself up and was forced to seek help from the mosque he attended in Bristol.