Manchester terror trial husband and wife sentenced

By Jenni Frazer, July 20, 2012
Shasta Khan and Mohammed Sajid Khan

Shasta Khan and Mohammed Sajid Khan

The Oldham couple convicted of terrorism offences in which they planned to attack Jews in north Manchester have been jailed today.

Mohammed Sadiq Khan, 33, who pleaded guilty before the trial at Manchester Crown Court of his wife, Shasta, was given an indeterminate sentence of 15 years, to serve a minimum of seven years and six months before being considered for parole. Mr Justice Wilkie, sentencing Khan, described him as a "dangerous" man whose prison sentence was being imposed in order to protect the public. The judge said Khan was the dominant force in the couple's relationship who was capable of putting into action his violent wishes.

Shasta Khan, his 38-year-old wife, was sentenced to eight years and is likely to serve a minimum of four years. Both the sentences will be minus the 350 days in custody which the couple have already served while awaiting trial.

Detective Chief Superintendent Anthony Mole, head of the North West Counter-Terrorism Unit said: "Mohammed Sajid Khan and his wife Shasta devised a plot to acquire the ingredients, equipment and the know-how to build a viable explosive device. Armed with that knowledge, what we recovered from their home suggested they were in the preparatory stages of assembling that device from various component parts and, disturbingly, were driving around Jewish communities in the Manchester area looking at possible targets.

"It is impossible to say with any certainty what their exact endgame was or what their specific targets may have been because we arrested the couple before any such terrorist attack could be carried out. However, the overwhelming evidence suggests they were in the attack-planning stage of a terrorist act motivated by antisemitic beliefs.

"Clearly this will cause shock in not just Jewish communities but across Greater Manchester as a whole. What I want to stress is that we have found no evidence to suggest this couple were collaborating with anyone else. They were in fact acting totally alone. Their plot was foiled by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit and there is nothing to suggest any residual threat to our communities.

"What we must acknowledge is the dangers posed by the relatively easy access to online publications which contain instructions on how to make viable explosive devices from everyday household items, and how this can create 'home-grown' terrorists. The Khans did not need to travel to training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan - the knowledge they needed to commit a terrorist act was available at the click of a few buttons from the confines of their own home. As the prosecution described it, this was 'jihad at home'."

Last updated: 12:34pm, July 23 2012