Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, of Luton, Bedfordshire, allegedly boasted to undercover police how he had deceived a jury into finding him not guilty of the attack.
The 28-year-old was ‘motivated by dreams of martyrdom for the cause of Islam, and inspired by preachers of hate’, a jury at Woolwich Crown Court was told.
Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, said Chowdbury was ‘keen to take part in an attack on a high profile and very public target in the UK.’
Mohiussunnath Chowdhury (left, in a court sketch) is accused of accused of preparing acts of terrorism and his sister Sneha Chowdhury (right, outside Woolwich Crown Court on Monday) is accused of failing to disclose information
Chowdhury had also allegedly sketched a picture of a man shooting at 10 Downing Street
The targets mentioned included Madame Tussauds in London, the Gay Pride parade, and an attack on tourists on a London open-top tour bus, the jury was told.
‘The object was to unleash death and suffering on non-Muslim members of the public who happened to be present, using a firearm, sword and even a van as part of an attack,’ the prosecutor said.
Chowdhury told undercover officers that he had indeed been trying to carry out a terrorist attack in 2017 and that he had ‘deceived’ the earlier jury that acquitted him of it, the court was told.
Chowdhury is accused of accused of preparing acts of terrorism and his sister Sneha Chowdhury, 25, is accused of failing to disclose information.
A police image of the sword used during the incident outside Buckingham Palace in London
Another photograph of the sword allegedly used in the incident at Buckingham Palace
His sister had ‘better reason than anyone to understand what her brother was thinking, and wanting to achieve,’ Mr Atkinson said.
Chowdhury ‘played the game’ by shaving off his beard for trial
Mohiussunnath Chowdhury had a big beard and looked unkempt at the time of his first trial, the court heard today.
He allegedly told undercover officers that a fellow inmate gave him the advice to ‘play the game’ and shave his beard off.
On the day of his planned ‘suicide’ in August 2017, Chowdhury changed his WhatsApp profile picture to a green bird, said to be a reference to martyrdom.
He also wrote his sister a note which read: ‘The Queen and her soldiers will all be in the hellfire they go to war with Muslims around the world and kill them without any mercy.’
After his acquittal, Chowdhury told undercover officers that he had initially gone to Windsor Castle, because his intention was to kill a soldier but when he got there, he could not see any soldiers so he drove to Buckingham Palace.
He said that on the way to commit the attack he had listened to and found inspiration from the lectures of the al-Qaeda preacher, Anwar Al Awlaki.
During the conversation in March last year, he told the officers, that when he got to the Palace, the only soldiers he could see were too far away behind a gate to reach, so he began to manoeuvre his vehicle to attract the attention of police in a nearby van.
Woolwich Crown Court was told that an officer managed to get the passenger door open and stop him from swinging or stabbing with the weapon, but there was then a short struggle with the officers trying to get the sword from Chowdhury while he was punching them and they were punching him, as he shouted: ‘Allahu Akbar’ [god is great] over and over again.
Chowdhury was put on trial twice for the attack, after the first jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Before the second trial, on September 27 2018, drawings were found in Chowdhury’s cell at Belmarsh jail, which make reference to ‘paradise’ and showed a terrorist shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and firing at a police officer outside 10 Downing Street.
At the time of his first trial Chowdhury had a big beard and looked unkempt.
But he used the word ‘deceive’ when he was referring to his appearance and appeared ‘very proud’ when he was speaking about how he had fooled the jury, the court was told.
‘Despite his acquittal on December 20 2018, once he was released from custody he immediately showed that his mindset had not changed one jot,’ Mr Atkinson said.
The mindset has been ‘entrenched since at least 2017,’ Mr Atkinson added. ‘It was a mindset that led him to attempt to carry out a terrorist attack, putting into practice his view that the UK government, army and police were enemies of Allah and that he would be rewarded in paradise if he became a martyr for Islam through an act of violence against those enemies.’
‘Whilst she may have hoped that it was all over when he was released from prison, and that his acquittal meant that he had not meant those things, his actions and his conversations with her once he was released in late December 2018 showed quite the opposite.’
Chowdhury purchased a replica Glock gun and told undercover officers what he was planning to do and why.
‘He told them of his training regime, and sought to involve them in his firearms-related training,’ Mr Atkinson said.
‘He told them of what he was wanting and planning to do, and sought to involve them in the carrying out of one or more terrorist attacks.’
In the lead-up to the incident outside Buckingham Palace on August 25, 2017, Chowdhury’s activities over the internet and on social media made it clear that he was a supporter of Islamic extremism, and ISIS in particular, the court heard.
Chowdhury told the jury in that case that his appearance with a sword outside Buckingham Palace had been an attempt at suicide, not an attack.
However, within days of his acquittal in December 2018, Chowdhury posted a story on Instagram extolling the virtues of martyrdom for Allah and an image of the police officer who had wrestled the sword away from him outside Buckingham Palace, calling him a ‘cuck’.
In January 2019, he posted a series of Islamic quotations on Instagram, including reference to paradise, adding: ‘Know that paradise is under the shade of swords’.
Days later Chowdhury started enquiries into firearms training, and started ‘preparations to undertake that which he had been stopped from doing in 2017, an act of terrorism,’ Mr Atkinson said.
On 10 March 2019, his sister’s bank account was used to purchase two Red Oak ‘Bokken’ 40 inch wooden training swords which were delivered to the home address.
The house had been bugged and recordings picked up Chowdhury showing his sister how to use them six days later, saying: ‘Let’s fight here for a little bit then you do the study. You attack first and then I attack first.
‘This is how, how I would strike yeah if I was running up to a person, no someone like that yeah what I would do is I run up hold the blade like that and then I would stab it like that indeed.’
Chowdhury made a reference to PC Ian Midgley, who was injured in his initial attack, saying: ‘You know that Midgley character, you remember what he said, he said in the 20 years [in the police] that was the first time yeah he felt like he fought for his life.’
And on April 2, Chowdhury told his sister: ‘I need to practise decapitation techniques and it’s not gonna be like you know what I mean you can’t do it in the garden.’
On June 20, Chowdhury told his sister that he was giving his notice in to work, adding: ‘I’m doing another attack bruv.’
His sister said that he was just having a ‘down day’ but Chowdhury told her: ‘No I’m serious bro it’s about time now.’
The hilt of the sword allegedly used outside Buckingham Palace is pictured above
The targets mentioned included Madame Tussauds in London (file picture), the jury was told
It is alleged that between January 12 and July 3 last year, Mohiussunnath booked a firearms training course, requested and selected a firearm and researched potential attack targets and asked another person to do the same.
It is also alleged that he undertook weight and fitness training, martial arts training and purchased and trained with wooden training swords called bokkens.
Mohiussunnath, a university drop out and former Uber driver, is charged under section 5 (1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006.
He also allegedly disseminated a terrorist video called ‘The Establishment of the Islamic State Pt 6’ on March 19 last year.
Chowdhury was also said to have been targeting Gay Pride in London (pictured last July)
Chowdhury was cleared of launching a Samurai sword attack on police outside Buckingham Palace in London (file image)
A third charge accuses him of possession of an ISIS instructional manual called ‘Guidelines for doing just terror operations’ on July 3.
Sneha Chowdhury is accused of two charges of failing to disclose information about terrorism between January 24 and July 3 last year under section 38B (2) of the Terrorism Act 2000
It is alleged she had information which she knew or believed might be of material assistance in preventing the commission of an act of terrorism and failed to disclose the information as soon as reasonably practicable to a police officer.
The trial continues.
Chowdhury ‘hit the ground running’ after his release from prison
Within a week of his acquittal, Chowdhury set up a new email address with the user name ‘Jihad Fisabilillah’, meaning ‘one who fights in the cause of Allah.’
He used the account to set up an Instagram account and between January 2 and 5 2019, Chowdhury posted a series of Koranic quotations, including one that read: ‘Regarding The Virtue Of Killing Disbeliever.’
On January 20, he posted: ‘When I am in the battlefield, I love it more then my wedding night with the most beautiful of women.’
‘He had, in reality, hit the ground running on his release from prison, and ready to pick up where he had been forced to let off in 2017 when his attack then had failed,’ Mr Atkinson told the jury.
Chowdury began work at a fast food restaurant in Luton called SFC Peri Peri Chicken and, on January 13, he made contact with a firearms training school called Shooting training solutions, run by a former Royal Marine.
On January 24, Chowdhury bought an EU Glock 17 Gen 4 airsoft pistol for £114.95, paying in cash, from Combat UK, a retail outlet for airsoft weapons and accessories in Stevenage.
The weapons fire 6mm plastic ball bearings for a game like paintball but guns sold to unregistered users are ‘two-toned’ to make it obvious they are not real weapons.
Between the end of January 2019 and June 2019, the police deployed undercover officers, using the names Zulf, Hamza and Mikael, to engage with Chowdhury, who they knew as Musa.
During a meeting at his local mosque on February 24, Chowdhury appeared wearing white traditional Muslim dress, dark coloured jeans and a white prayer cap.
During a conversation with Mikael, Chowdhury allegedly ‘smirked’ and then proudly told him about his previous trial and said that it was ‘the Queen versus him,’ the court was told.
Chowdhury said that he had been released from prison, ‘due to Allah’, that he believed that Muslims needed to pick sides, and said there was only one way to jannah [paradise].
When he met an undercover officer called Mikael on April 27, he showed him the website for the firearms training school and claimed it was a shooting range where you could pay to use various firearms from an AK47 to a handgun.
Mikael said Chowdhury was ‘really excited’ and was ‘really animated’ and was very keen on doing the training.
‘It was clear from the context of that conversation that Chowdhury wanted this training to put into effect in an attack, once he had also managed to acquire a firearm, something he hoped that Mikael was going to be able to help him with,’ Mr Atkinson said.
Mr Atkinson said there was a ‘real difference between a lonely man trying to impress new found friends by saying things that do not reflect reality and someone who wants new friends to help him get right what went wrong before.’