Terrorist who helped Cardiff teenager join Isis in Syria found by police looking to buy weapons

Police custody picture of Adeel Ulhaq
-Credit: (Image: Nottinghamshire Police)

A convicted terrorist jailed for enticing and assisting a Cardiff teenager to leave home and join Isis fighting in Syria is back behind bars after creating fake social media accounts and email addresses to search the internet for weapons. Adeel Ulhaq also joined a WhatsApp group called “Pakistan Arms and Ammunition” and asked one of its members if he had a gun for sale.

Ulhaq was sentenced to five years in prison at the Old Bailey in London in February 2016 after encouraging 17-year-old Aseel Muthana to leave Cardiff and follow in the footsteps of his older brother Nasser in becoming an Isis fighter. He was given an additional 12 months imprisonment for funding terrorism. Nottinghamshire Live reports that shortly after being released from prison for those offences he set up numerous social media and email accounts in false names and began looking for weapons. Sending the 29-year-old back to prison a judge told him he was "an offender of particular concern" with "an interest in guns, an interest in combat, and an interest in extreme views".

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Ulhaq was one of three men jailed in 2016 for helping Muthan to travel to Syria by researching his travel routes, arranging flights to Cyprus, and buying items such as passports and military clothing. Ulhaq had extensive phone contact with the teenager and gave him multiple tips about how to contact fellow jihadis when he reached southern Turkey en route to Syria. Muthana, who studied at Fitzalan High School, ended up making the journey and joining Isis.

Ulhaq was released from his sentence in May 2019 with a string of conditions designed to control and monitor his online activities but shortly afterwards began using email addresses and Facebook accounts in false names including “Gemma Oliver” and “Jamie Lewis”. He also acquired a mobile phone which he had not informed the authorities about. For the latest court reports, sign up to our crime newsletter here

The new offending came to light when police went to the defendant's house in January last year and recovered a phone which had been hidden under a chest of drawers in his mother’s bedroom. Nadeem Holland, prosecuting, told Nottingham Crown Court: "Examination of that mobile phone revealed the defendant was a member of a WhatsApp group called ‘Pakistan Arms and Ammunition’ and there was one conversation where the defendant asked another member if they had any guns for sale.

"There were internet searches including ‘remote firearms transactions,’ ‘covert policing’ and ‘can I buy an air rifle in the UK?’ A number of documents had also been downloaded including a sales brochure for rifles for sale in Pakistan and software had also been installed to allow highly-encrypted messages to be sent and to allow his IP address to be hidden. We say the reason the defendant was not notifying the police was he was using them for purposes the police wanted to know about following his sentence. These were deliberate and prolonged breaches and efforts were made to hide the phones."

Adeel Ulhaq, of Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, had previously pleaded guilty to five separate counts of failing to comply with notification requirements under the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 when he returned to the dock for sentencing. Jailing him for 33 months Judge Nirmal Shant KC said: "You are an offender of particular concern. Overall, you had an interest in guns, an interest in combat and an interest in extreme views. These were persistent and flagrant breaches of your conditions."

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