'Determined to kill innocent people': Luton brother and sister convicted of London Pride terror plot
A Luton brother and sister have been convicted for their roles in a planned terror attack on London Pride following an investigation by the Met Police.
Woolwich Crown Court heard how Mohuissunnath Chowdhury, 28, of Luton, confided his plans to undercover officers as part of a counter terrorism investigation.
He was also recorded at home telling his sister Sneha Chowdhury, 25, that he was “doing another attack” and asking her for help to practise stabbing people – alarming information which Sneha Chowdhury did not report to police.
Mohiussunnath had previously been acquitted of a sword attack outside Buckingham Palace in June 2017 after a jury heard he was suffering from depression.
Detectives learned that soon after being released following his acquittal in December 2018, Mohuissunnath began posting messages online that demonstrated his extremist mind-set.
By the end of January 2019, he had bought a replica gun.
Covert police officers were deployed to befriend Mohuissunnath, so they could find out what he was planning and how serious his intent was.
An unsuspecting Mohuissunnath Chowdhury not only confessed to officers that he was considering targeting crowded central-London tourist attractions and the Pride in London event, but even sought advice on obtaining a real gun from an undercover officer using the name ‘Mikael’.
He thought Mikael shared his goal to murder innocent people and bragged to the officer about his previous trial, saying he had in fact intended to kill soldiers but succeeded in “deceiving” the jury who found him not guilty.
Having gathered a wealth of evidence that proved the Chowdhurys’ guilt, detectives arrested the siblings together on July 3, 2019, days before Pride in London.
Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met Police counter terrorism command, said: “The courage and professionalism of these covert officers meant they obtained evidence that was, I feel, crucial to us securing these convictions today.
"They, like so many officers working across counter terrorism policing every day, are carrying out dangerous and challenging work to ensure the public is kept safe.”
“In counter terrorism, we constantly balance the risk dangerous individuals pose to the public with the need to gather evidence strong enough to secure a conviction and ensure they are locked up.
"Mohuissunnath Chowdhury was determined to kill innocent people but we arrested him at the right time, having been able to gather sufficient evidence of his plans.”
Detectives witnessed a stark change in Mohuissunnath Chowdhury’s demeanour over the course of his time in police custody.
In initial police interviews he was open and talkative with detectives. They believed he was attempting to keep them distracted while ‘Mikael’ went ahead with an attack.
Days later, when police revealed his ‘friend’ was in fact a covert officer, he became visibly withdrawn and refused to engage with detectives, answering “no comment” to their questions.
Mohuissunnath Chowdhury was subsequently charged with preparation of acts of terrorism. He was also charged with dissemination of a terrorist publication, in relation to a violent terrorist propaganda video he sent the covert officers, and possession of information useful to terrorism, for having a guide to carrying out terror attacks on his phone.
Today he was found guilty of all these offences.
Sneha Chowdhury was found guilty of one count of failing to disclose information regarding terrorist activity.
She was found not guilty of another count of failing to disclose information regarding terrorist activity.
Speaking of Sneha Chowdhury’s conviction, Commander Smith added: “There is no acceptable reason for listening to someone say they are planning to kill innocent people, and watching them practise how they will do that, then not reporting it to police.
"Sneha Chowdhury wilfully kept her brother’s horrific secret and is now facing the consequences.
“However, not every case has to end this way. If relatives report indications that a loved one is becoming radicalised early on, there is an opportunity for authorities to intervene and help them before they become too deeply entrenched. All it takes is a phone call.”
Anyone who has concerns that someone may be becoming radicalised, or who has concerns about suspicious behaviour, is urged to act by reporting it to police in confidence at https://act.campaign.gov.uk/ or by calling 0800 789 321.
In an emergency, always dial 999.
Sentencing of the Chowdhurys is due to take place on March 13 at Woolwich Crown Court.