Man who plotted terror attack using bomb in driverless car jailed for 15 years

A man who planned to use a bomb carried by a remote controlled vehicle to carry out a terror attack has been jailed for 15 years.

Farhad Salah, 24, was plotting to use the driverless car in an attack against an unknown target.

He was convicted at Sheffield Crown Court earlier this month of preparing to commit acts of terrorism.

Jurors heard that Salah posted on social media about using a driverless car in an attack.

Counter-terror police said Salah was not close to achieving his aim of putting a device in a vehicle but officers believe he was a "very real risk to the safety of the public in the UK".

The raids in Sheffield and Chesterfield happened in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena explosion, the terror attacks on Westminster and London Bridge, and at a time when there were fears that another atrocity was being planned for the Christmas period.

But police said they have never been able to identify Salah's intended target.

Opening the case, prosecutor Anne Whyte QC told the jury: "The intention was to manufacture a device which would be placed in a vehicle but controlled remotely so that no-one had to martyr themselves in the process."

She said that, a week before he was arrested, Salah messaged a contact on Facebook saying: "My only attempt is to find a way to carry out martyrdom operation with cars without driver, everything is perfect only the programme is left …"

The prosecutor said: "Farhad Salah had decided that improvised explosive devices could be made and used in a way here in the UK that spared his own life preferably but harmed others he considered to be infidels."

Salah arrived at Heathrow Airport in December 2014 and applied for asylum. This application had not been determined by the time he was arrested.

He stood trial alongside Chesterfield chip shop owner Andy Star, 32, who was acquitted of the same charge.

A jury had previously failed to reach verdicts on either man following a trial last year.

Judge Paul Watson QC told Mr Star a decision had been made that he should not face a second retrial and a not guilty verdict was recorded in his case.

He said Mr Star could go free but was informed that he will continue to be detained on immigration matters.

Prosecutors told the five-week trial that Salah and Mr Star were in the early stages of testing small improvised explosive devices when they were arrested in high-profile raids on their homes in a Sheffield community centre and a Chesterfield fish and chip shop in December 2017.

But Mr Star has always insisted that gunpowder and other items found in his flat above the chip shop were all connected to his long-standing interest in fireworks.

Salah was found guilty on a majority of 10 to 2 after the jury deliberated for almost three days.

The court heard how both defendants are Iraqi nationals.

At the beginning of the trial, Miss Whyte told the jury that Salah was a supporter of Islamic State (IS), despite him being an Iraqi-Kurd – a nationality usually associated with the fight against the terror group.

Gunpowder, homemade fuses and explosive chemicals were found when Mr Star's Mermaid Fish Bar, in Chesterfield, was raided by armed police and similar items were found in the Fatima Community Centre, in Sheffield, were Salah lived.

Source: Read Full Article