Isis supporter admits planning to bomb St Paul's Cathedral

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Shaikh plotted to bomb the iconic St Paul's Cathedral in London. (Met Police/Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment)

A supporter of Isis has admitted to plotting to bomb St Paul’s Cathedral and a hotel.

Safiyya Amira Shaikh, 36, from Hayes, Middlesex, entered her guilty plea at the Old Bailey on Friday morning.

The charge against Shaikh, a Muslim convert born Michelle Ramsden, says she made contact with a person she thought could prepare explosives and went to scope out the landmark to see where she could plant a bomb.

Instead, the bomb expert and his wife were two undercover officers. She met with the “wife” in Uxbridge to hand over bags to be used for bombs.

She also examined a hotel as a target by staying at it.

The prosecution’s case summary states Shaikh intended to kill as many people as possible in a suicide attack at St Paul’s.

In encrypted chat with an undercover officer in August, the defendant said that she would “rather die young and get to Jannah (paradise) quickest way possible”.

She also stated: “I always knows (sic) I wanted to do something big... killing one kafir (infidel) is not enough for me.”

Shaikh said she wanted to target a church or somewhere “historical” on a day like Christmas or Easter to “kill more”, according to the case summary.

She had prepared a pledge of allegiance to Isis between August and October 2019, and shared terrorist documents with groups using the Telegram messaging app during that time.

Shaika is due to be sentenced on May 12.

According to a Times report from October, Shaikh had been registered as the sole director of a company which was dissolved nine months after being incorporated.

The paper quoted her as writing in an online business directory that she was the manager of a garage and was training to be a mechanic.

It reported she worked at a garage with her second husband and has a daughter, who is in her late teens.

Shaikh converted to Islam in 2007. Her family was not Muslim.

She started following extremists online and by 2015 had become radicalised, the prosecution alleged.

Shaikh was arrested on October 13 when police forced their way into her flat. She told police she had posted extremist material and admitted to the plot but said she may not have gone through with it.