Man admits Prince George plot after changing plea mid-trial

Home UK Man admits Prince George plot after changing plea mid-trial
Man admits Prince George plot after changing plea mid-trial

An Islamic State supporter has changed his plea mid-trial to admit encouraging terrorism by calling for an attack on Prince George.

Husnain Rashid had maintained his innocence throughout proceedings at Woolwich Crown Court, but has now unexpectedly admitted a number of terror offences.

The 32-year-old, of Nelson, Lancashire, used a Telegram group on 13 October last year to call on supporters to target the four-year-old prince, who is third in line to the throne.

Prosecutors said Rashid was encouraging terrorism by posting a photograph of the prince at his school super-imposed with silhouettes of two masked jihadist fighters in an encrypted forum he set up.

Rashid also encouraged followers to poison ice cream and attack football stadiums, and was even planning his own online magazine offering tips for "lone-wolf attacks".

Image: Rashid shared a picture of Prince George and the address of Thomas's school in Battersea

The unemployed web designer was in touch with an IS operative in Syria called "Repunzel" and sent him information about how to make explosives and shoot down aircraft.

He was seeking to get to Syria to join the terrorist group.

Rashid appeared in court with a large beard, wearing a grey prison sweatshirt, glasses and a black prayer cap.

The court heard he was running his own "brand" on the Telegram app called the "Lone Mujahid" which he used to share advice and encourage attacks.

He also posted suggestions of which British football stadiums terrorists could strike, following the deadly attack outside Besiktas's ground in Turkey, his trial heard.

He also allegedly posted a map of Sixth Avenue in New York with the message: "New York Halloween Parade. Have you made your preparations? The Countdown begins."

Other posts included a photograph of the Burmese ambassador to the UK with the address of the Burmese embassy saying: "You know what to do."

Rashid was said to have urged people to "fight and spill the blood to the apes in your land", adding: "Start planning, start scouting targets, start monitoring entry/exit routes, start preparing tools and weapons/explosive."

He was also said to have prepared acts of terrorism between 28 January 2017 and 23 November 2017 by "messaging individuals he believed to be in ISIS territory, seeking advice about routes to travel to Syria, saving money in order to travel, purchasing equipment, and seeking to obtain tazkiyah (a sponsor), to join ISIS".

He was arrested at his home in November.

Judge Andrew Lees told him that the trial had heard the "most disturbing allegations", adding: "It is inevitable that you will receive a very lengthy prison sentence and there will be a consideration of a life prison sentence."

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Two charges of dissemination of a terrorist publication and one of failing to comply with a notice under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act will stay on file.

Rashid will be sentenced on 28 June.

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