Prince George terror suspect used social media to encourage followers to carry out 'lone wolf' attack on future King's school, court hears

Francesca Marshall
Prince George on his first day at Thomas's Battersea in south-west London - AFP

An alleged terror suspect used social media to encourage his followers to carry out “lone wolf” attacks on Prince George, a court has heard.

Husnain Rashid, of Nelson, Lancashire, provided an "e-toolkit for terrorism" which gave advice on how to commit acts of terror, including “targeting Prince George at his first school.”

The 32-year-old, who was employed as a teacher at the Mohammadi mosque, is charged with encouraging terrorism by posting a photograph of the future King, along with the address of the four-year-old's school, a silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message: "Even the royal family will not be left alone".

He is also accused of running an online channel named Lone Mujahid and made calls for ice creams to be poisoned.

Jurors at Woolwich Crown Court were told on Wednesday that the defendant provided advice on how a terrorist could carry out an attack with poison, chemicals, bombs and knives.

Prosecutor Annabel Darlow said: "His proposals were indiscriminate and made no distinction between adult and child, between members of fighting forces and civilians. "His suggestions included injecting poison into supermarket ice creams and targeting Prince George at his first school."

Even the Royal family will not be left alone

message allegedly posted by Husnain Rashid

Rashid pleaded not guilty to three counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, one count of encouraging terrorism and two counts of dissemination of a terrorist publication.

He pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with a notice under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place between October 2016 and November 2017.

Rashid’s activities came to light following the monitoring of posts on the Lone Mujahid channel. 

The channel, which was based on the social media site Telegram, offers users a high level of security, using end-to-end encryption. 

Ms Darlow said this meant the site “provides a highly secure means of communication for terrorist and other criminal networks.”

The defendant is also said to have distributed terrorist publications “with the intention thereby of providing encouragement to others to commit acts of terror.” 

Court artist sketch of Husnain Rashid in the dock at a previous hearing Credit: Elizabeth Cook /PA

Ms Darlow added that amongst the publications was the notorious al-Qaeda publication, Inspire Magazine, which provides its readers with information on how to make a bomb at home.

The court heard that upon arrest Rashid attempted to dispose of a mobile phone by throwing it over the wall of his garden. It was heard that a number of other mobile devices were found which had black tape covering the front camera for increased security.

He was asked to provide the pin numbers or access codes for a number of the devices recovered, but claimed he “could not remember it”.

Whilst online it was alleged by prosecutors that Rashid communicated with a British terrorist in Syria named Omar Ali Hussain.

The jury heard that Rashid allegedly offered Ali Hussain assistance to commit acts of terror by providing him with information on using lasers to shoot down aircraft and to weaken enemy defences by jamming their missile systems.

In return the defendant sought assistance on how he could travel abroad to join jihad for himself.

Ali Hussain formerly lived in High Wycombe before leaving the UK in 2013. He appeared on an episode of BBC Newsnight where he openly talked about his activities in Syria.

He is since thought to have been killed.

Among the allegations is the claimed that Rashid had a map of Sixth Avenue in New York and a message stating "New York Halloween Parade. Have you made you preparations? The Countdown begins".

He is also alleged to have posted a photograph of the Burmese ambassador to the United Kingdom with the address of the Burmese embassy, saying "you know what to do”, urging others to "fight and spill the blood to the apes in your land" and calling for others to "start preparing tools and weapons/explosives".

Other targets included railway stations in Australia.

The trial continues.