Teen Allegedly Planned To Behead Soldier

A British soldier with the 4th Mechanised Brigade is pictured engaging the enemy during Operation Qalb in Helmand, Afghanistan. Photo credit: UK defence imagery

A teenage Muslim convert, who idolized the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, has gone on trial accused of planning his own attack on members of the British military.

Brustholm Ziamani, 19, was arrested on an east London street, carrying a rucksack with a large knife and hammer wrapped up in an Islamic flag.

On the opening day of his trial at the Old Bailey, the court heard Ziamani had later told a security officer he was “on his way to kill a British soldier at an army barracks” when he was detained.

The jury heard that Ziamani stated he was “going to behead the soldier and hold his head up in the air so that his friend could take a photograph”.

Prosecutor Annabelle Darlow QC told the jury that Ziamani, a British national of Congolese Christian origin, had been a teenager with relatively normal interests who started a relationship with a 16-year-old girl in March last year.

A month later, he converted to Islam and according to the Crown, demanded his girlfriend should also convert, telling her that he “wanted to die a martyr”.

He also referred to Michael Adebolajo, one of Lee Rigby’s murderers, as a “legend”.

Ms Darlow said his girlfriend ended the relationship a short time later.

The prosecution claimed the teenager began showing increasing signs of radicalisation, posting various extremist messages on Facebook.

The messages, in the defendant’s own grammar, were shown and read out to the jury.

One post on 3 May 2014 read: “Sharia Law on its way on our streets we will implement it its part of our religion we will get Dem kufar soon we r soldiers of Allah TAKBIR.”

Another message, relating to the murder Fusilier Rigby outside Woolwich barracks, was posted on Facebook on 12 June 2014.

It read: “Why are They acting like Lee Rigby’s death was the worst death ever he just got run over and stabbed left right centre I bet if n Englishmen did it they wont say nuffin or make a big deal over it but two muslim brothers run over dis kaffar n now makin a big deal.”

The Old Bailey was told Ziamani had been arrested in Camberwell, southeast London on 27 June last year.

Officers found a handwritten letter, apparently to his parents, stating he was about to do “Jihad holy fighting in Allah’s cause”.

Other extracts read: “Now we will take a thousand ov yours then ten thousands and send you all to the hell-fire you want war you got it British soldiers heads will be removed and burend u cannot deafet the muslims..”

The defendant’s mobile phone was seized and analysed. It showed internet searches for army cadet centres and other military establishments in Camberwell, Lewisham and Blackheath.

Ziamani was later released on police bail and referred to officers from the Government’s Prevent anti-extremism programme.

He was arrested again on 19 August, after a visit to his ex-girlfriend’s house, where the Crown said he told her he was going to commit a “terrorist attack”.

He was arrested on an east London street later that day, carrying his rucksack with a 12-inch knife and pick-style hammer inside.

The trial continues and it is due to finish by the end of next week.

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