Terror plotter convicted of planning attacks on Madame Tussauds and Pride march

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Chowdhury planned to attack Madame Tussauds, the jury was told. (PA Images)

A chicken shop worker who planned attacks at Madame Tussauds and Pride has been convicted of terror offences a year after he was cleared of a sword attack outside Buckingham Palace.

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury was driven by “dreams of martyrdom” when he planned gun, knife and van attacks at busy London hotspots. An open-top sightseeing bus was also a target.

But the 28-year-old unwittingly told his plans to undercover police posing as like-minded extremists, who had him under surveillance for five months.

Handout file photo issued by Metropolitan Police of a knife, shown at Woolwich Crown Court during Chowdhury's trial. (PA Images)

To prepare for his attacks, Chowdhury would lift weights, practise stabbing and rehearse beheading techniques, as well as booking shooting range training and attempting to secure a real gun, Woolwich Crown Court was told during his trial.

Chowdhury was cleared in December 2018 of slashing police with a sword outside Buckingham Palace while shouting “Allahu Akbar”, and he later bragged about deceiving that case’s jury.

On Monday he was found guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, collecting information likely to be useful to someone preparing an act of terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications.

His sister Sneha Chowdhury, 25, cried when she was convicted of one count of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism and cleared of another count of the same charge.

Chowdhury told his sister “it’s alright” as they hugged in the dock. He is due to be sentenced on 13 March while Sneha has been bailed for a report to be prepared.

Chowdhury’s defence lawyer Simon Csoka QC argued the university dropout was a “pathetic little man” who “talks and talks but doesn’t do” and sought attention.

During his trial, Chowdhury dismissed his praise of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in France and the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in London as “jihadi banter”, and claimed his weapons training arose from his fascination with martial arts and weightlifting.

Sneha Chowdhury was convicted of one count of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism. (PA Images)

But prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said Chowdhury wanted to “unleash death and suffering” on non-Muslims after being influenced by al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki.

Scotland Yard’s counter-terror commander Richard Smith told reporters Chowdhury wanted “to kill and harm as many people as possible”.

Chowdhury, who had martyrdom notes on his bedroom door, told an undercover officer: “If you’re one man and there’s a million kuffar [unbelievers], you are free to fight them, if your intentions are clear, you’re fighting for the pleasure of Allah.

“And if you die that’s completely fine, it’s even more virtuous, you know.

“The weapons are a must, these firearms, it’s a 100%… just make sure you have clips, Akhi [“brother”], you have enough clips, know what I’m saying.”

He later added during the conversation: “It must be an ambush… we should be the one doing it first, they shouldn’t know what’s hit them, yeah, does that make sense?”

Chowdhury, of Kirkwood Road, Luton, was arrested three days before the Pride parade last summer.

Sneha was described as “loyal, much put-on and long-suffering” by the prosecution but also as someone who was “aware of all he was saying to her and what it meant”.