Teenager jailed for plotting nail bomb attack on Elton John concert
A teenager has been jailed for life after plotting a nail bomb attack on an Elton John concert.
19-year-old Haroon Syed, from Hounslow in west London, admitted plotting an attack, which was set to take place last year on the anniversary of 9/11.
Syed plotted to attack a target in central London – using a home-made bomb with a remote timer, following instructions published by Jihadis online.
He earmarked a number of potential targets, researching details of an Elton John concert in Hyde Park.
However, the plot was thwarted when Syed was caught online chatting to undercover security agents.
Sir Elton’s concert took place in September 2016 weekend without incident, on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Syed, who admitted a charge of preparation of terrorist acts between April and September last year, was jailed today, with a minimum term of 16 years.
The Old Bailey had heard that he had researched busy areas of London to target, and attempted to buy weapons online, including explosives and a bomb vest.
Prosecutor Thomas Halpin outlined previously that the teen had researched online how “to make an incendiary explosive device”.
He added: “His internet searches show he is searching busy places in London. Oxford Street, upcoming events in London.
“He is looking at internet searches. Where are soldiers in the UK, London’s top ten most crowded boroughs, Buckingham Palace, Royal Marines Reserve, City of London.”
The court heard that when police asked for the password to unlock his phone, he replied: “Yeah I.S.I.S – you like that?”
Speaking online to a fake radical Islamist made up by undercover police, Syed had asked for “gear” for his “opp”, including a machine gun and explosive vest.
He said: “After some damage with machine gun do martyrdom … that’s what I’m planning to do”.
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Syed proceeded to meet up with an undercover police officer in a Costa Coffee in Slough, believing them to be his contact.
He was eventually arrested after giving his contact £150, to buy a bomb “with lots of nails inside”.
The teen’s defence statement described him as “highly vulnerable due to family history, lack of education, addiction to violent online games and the arrest and imprisonment of his brother”.
His lawyers claimed his online conversations were a “fantasy to see how far it would go” and that he never planned to actually carry out an attack.
According to Metro, his lawyer said: “The proper response of the State should have been to engage Prevent to help this young man, to steer him away from the path it was feared he was going down, rather than guiding him down it.”
Syed pleaded guilty to the charge after the defence failed to have evidence excluded from the case.