Terror trial wife: 'I'm not evil'

The woman accused of planning to blowing up Jews in Manchester has told the court "I'm not evil", and said she honestly did not know her husband was planning acts of terrorism.

Shasta Khan was told by police in interviews that she had "gone to a very dark place that some people would call evil", it was said at Manchester Crown Court yesterday, on day 12 of the trial. Mrs Khan is denying charges that she planned acts of terrorism and had acquired proscribed Al Qaeda material, tgether with her husband Sajid Khan.

"I'm not evil. I don't do these things. Finding myself married to [a terrorist] I could believe that, but I didn't want to believe that," responded Mrs Khan, who was asked by her barrister why she had lied to police during counter-terror questioning, and at one point admitted that all the terror activity and material was her doing.

"I was physically and mentally drained. I didn't know what they were showing me. I was just blaming myself for this whole mess, I just wanted the interviews to stop," Mrs Khan said, explaining that she had originally informed police about her husband's suspicious activity.

"First, you said you had seen your husband cooking bleach. Then you said, 'he had not touched them. That's the God's honest truth. I was angry with him. He said he would divorce me'. You were saying you had lied to the police?" Simon Drew QC, defending, put to his client.

"Yes", said Mrs Khan.

"You now say you were lying about lying to the police," said Mr Drew, who ask his client why she had changed her story a third time in court from accounts she gave in taped police interviews.

"I didn't want him [her husband] to find out. He was going to listen to these tapes and see what I had said. If he was innocent, I had had him arrested. If he was involved, God knows who he knew, and I was scared," she said.

Yesterday prosecutor Bobbie Cheema cross-examined Mrs Khan for the first time, and revealed that she had lied in 27 of 28 police interviews.

"You told at least half a dozen lies in every single one?" asked Ms Cheema.

"I was making things up as I went along," responded Mrs Khan.

"What did you not want your husband to find out?"

"I didn't want him to find out I went to the police."

"You thought you would be able to turn things around. It was another ridiculous idea," Ms Cheema said.

"I just wanted to stop him finding it out. If I wasn't being recorded I would have said the truth," Mrs Khan responded.

Ms Cheema asked why Mrs Khan had told the court she did not know what was in a Maplin bag, which was later discovered to contain an alleged bomb detonator made of modified Christmas lights.

"The truth is that when police asked you about that bag you gave all sorts of lies, even before they ever said to you what that bag was, namely that someone had perhaps been trying to make explosives. Before they told you it was something potentially terrorist, how did you know you needed to lie?" asked Ms Cheema. "I say the reason you knew you had to lie about that bag is that you knew exactly what was inside," said the barrister.

Later Ms Cheema asked Mrs Khan: "You painted your husband as a monster, as a manipulative, violent, bullying man. In a document you said life with Sajid Khan had become a matter of survival?" "Yes," said Mrs Khan "The picture you paint was a man constantly volatile, someone you can't protest against, you can't speak without his permission, you can't even go to sleep without his permission?"

"Yes, in the last few months," said Mrs Khan.

But Ms Cheema put it to the defendant:"But what you said to DC Brownlow was that even if he was convicted 'I would wait for him.'"

"I was falling back into my depression at that time," responded Mrs Khan. "You are quite prepared, I suggest, to tell any lies in this trial to get an aquittal of these charges," Ms Cheema said.

"No, I am telling the truth," replied Mrs Khan.

"The lies you told were an exaggeration of how you present the conflicts between you and your husband Sajid Khan. Have you told any lies about the way and Sajid Khan got together, how he was with you and treated you until the day of his arrest?"

"I haven't told any lies. That was truth. What I hid was the abuse," said Mrs Khan.

The trial continues.

Last updated: 2:16pm, July 6 2012