'Lone wolf' terror attack planned using drone, axes and 'Ninja eggs', court told

Rebecca Speare-Cole
Old Bailey: Two terror suspects accused of plotting attacks on London: Getty Images

An Islamic State fan plotted a "lone wolf" attack on the British army using a drone, knives, axes and Japanese "Ninja eggs", a court has heard.

Hisham Muhammad, 25, amassed an array of weapons at his home in Whitefield, Bury, including a tomahawk, a machete and bear-claws, the Old Bailey was told.

He had also set about making a prototype of a drone attachment using lollipop sticks to drop a projectile or "harmful" device on his target, it was claimed.

He had allegedly researched police and army bases, including Castle Armoury Barracks in Bury, Greater Manchester, which he visited before his arrest last June.

The Bermudan national, who moved to Britain in 2013, had allegedly helped fund his activities with money from a bogus online escort agency scam.

He was caught after his landlord spotted "suspicious" items at the defendant's home including knives, a tub of wires and a soldering iron, the court heard.

Jurors were told his landlord had visited the property after Muhammad and his cousin Faisal Abu Ahmad, 24, had fallen behind with their rent.

In a search, police uncovered the stash of weapons as well as lollipop sticks attached to an electrical component with black tape and various wires, jurors heard.

Some of the components allegedly matched sketches and detailed notes for adapting a drone.

Officers also seized two painted eggs containing crushed chilli seeds and shards of glass which were described as Japanese "ninja eggs".

Prosecutor Anne Whyte QC said Muhammad had steeped himself in "barbarous" Islamic State propaganda as he planned a "lone wolf" attack in Britain.

Ms Whyte said the video in French justified and encouraged "lone wolf attacks" in France and Europe, and included gruesome footage of executions.

On May 21 last year, he allegedly researched suicide belts, machetes and Victoria train station which had been part of the scene of the Manchester Arena terror attack a year before.

Two days later, Muhammad visited an army recruitment event in Bury town centre and the nearby Castle Armoury Barracks where expressed an interest in joining up, jurors were told.

It was claimed the defendant went on to Google "weak points of the human body for assault" as well as armed police in UK and Manchester.

In a police interview, Muhammad denied planning an attack, saying he had a "gift from god for making things and liked to innovate".

Muhammad of Victoria Avenue, Whitefield, Bury, denies engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

Abu Ahmad, of the same address, has pleaded not guilty to failing to alert authorities of the alleged attack plan.

Giving evidence, landlord Onkar Singh described the "surreal" experience of coming across what he thought could be a bomb in his rented house.

Onkar Singh outside the Old Bailey, in central London, after giving evidence in the trial of Faisal Abu Ahmad and Hisham Muhammad (PA)

He told how takeaway worker Muhammad had failed to pay the £600 rent on his property.

Mr Singh said his "heart sunk" when he visited him to discuss it and saw the condition of the house.

The witness said: "He agreed to move out but said he needed a few days to sort himself out."

Upstairs he found a "tub with wire sticking out" and a collection of knives on a windowsill, the court heard.

Mr Singh said: "I found it a bit unusual. It seemed a bit odd. Once I saw the knives I just wanted to get out the house."

He returned with a friend and his brother-in-law and took photographs of the suspicious items, including a printout of images of guns, he said.

Mr Singh said his brother-in-law Daniel was "in shock" at what they had found and they went straight to the nearest police station in Bury.

Cross-examining, Bernard Richmond QC, for Muhammad, said there had been "no effort to hide" any of the objects.

He said: "There was no attempt to justify its existence or explain it away. It must have been a rather surreal experience."

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Mr Singh, a car salesman, answered: "It was yeah."

Francis FitzGibbon QC, for Abu Ahmad pressed the witness on what he had made of the scene.

Mr Singh told jurors: "At the time I did not want to make any allegations of what was going on. I just did not think it looked right.

"Why is there a switch in a tub? It could be a bomb."

Additional reporting by Press Association

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