Manchester terror trial wife found guilty on three counts

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 19, 2012
Shasta Khan and Mohammed Sajid Khan

Shasta Khan and Mohammed Sajid Khan

A Manchester Crown Court jury has today convicted an Oldham woman of planning a terror plot against Jews.

Shasta Khan was found guilty of three counts under terrorism laws.

Her husband, Mohammed Sajid Khan, 33, had already pleaded guilty to one of the offences, preparation for acts of terrorism, before the trial began.

It is thought to be the UK's first case of a husband and wife found guilty together of a terrorist campaign.

Mrs Khan, a 38-year-old hairdresser from Oldham, was convicted by the jury of three men and nine women of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism and two counts of possession of a record useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism. She was acquitted of a fourth count of possession.

The Khans on honeymoon in Turkey, in Western dress

The Khans on honeymoon in Turkey, in Western dress

The couple will be sentenced on Friday afternoon.

The conviction follows a four-week court case, which heard how the couple acquired materials to make explosives in the tiny kitchen of their terraced home, had already made an improvised detonator from Christmas lights, and had bought a sub-machine gun.

There was a frantic purchase of household items such as bleach, chlorine tables, specialist salts and peroxide hair products from Tesco, Sainsbury's, B&Q and Maplin just a week before police became involved.

The court heard how the couple had carefully followed an Al Qaeda bomb-making recipe which meant explosives to kill tens of people could have been ready within weeks.

In relation to the other charges, the couple were convicted of owning proscribed terrorist material from terror instruction manuals to fiercely antisemitic and anti-Western lectures by Sheikhs and radical preachers.

The material on CDs, DVDs, and files on the couple's two home computers littered their house and cars.

The jury rejected the claim put by the defence that Mrs Khan was utterly unaware of her husband's activities.

Mrs Khan claimed she rarely saw the material her husband was absorbing, despite living together and spending hours of the day in each other's company.

The jury also rejected the claim that Mrs Khan had blindly followed her husband's wishes to drive around Jewish areas of north Manchester hunting Jewish targets.

The defence claims that Mrs Khan was abused, scared and not responsible for her actions in the face of a violent and domineering husband were rejected.

CST (Community Security Trust) provides security for British Jews. CST spokesman Mark Gardner said:

“This trial has shown the reality of anti-Jewish terrorism in Britain today. It explains why Jewish communities take security and antisemitism seriously.

CST thanks Greater Manchester Police and the North West Counter Terrorism Unit for their co-operation with both CST and our Jewish community at this difficult time. We urge the Jewish community to lead its life to the full; and ask that it keeps supporting communal security efforts. In particular, suspicious activities in Jewish areas should be reported to CST and Police.

Antisemitism is central to extreme Islamist ideology. In Britain, this February, nine British men were convicted of plotting to send letter bombs to various targets, including two synagogues. In March, three children and a teacher were murdered by a gunman at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. In June 2011, an Al Qaeda leader in East Africa was found with plans to attack targets in London, including the Jewish neighbourhoods of Golders Green and Stamford Hill. Furthermore, Iran and its Hizbollah surrogate continue to target Jews and also Israelis.”

Last updated: 2:49pm, July 20 2012