Man jailed for planning terror trip to Syria

Khalil Maher.
Khalil Maher.
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A man from Sheffield has been jailed over his plan to travel to Syria to commit acts of terrorism.

Khalil Maher, 22, of Wilfred Close in Darnall, Sheffield, pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court part way through a trial and he was locked up for five years and four months.

The court heard that an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing North East led to Maher’s arrest on April 18, 2017 as he attempted to leave the UK to travel to Syria.

A week later Maher was charged with Engaging in the Preparation of an Act of Terrorism, contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson, Head of Investigations for Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: “Khalil Maher had planned to follow his friends to fight in Syria. Despite his attempts to hide this from his family and the police he was unsuccessful and was arrested and detained in the departure lounge at Heathrow Airport, just two hours before he was due to board a flight to Istanbul.

“Maher had gone to great lengths to conceal the purpose and planning of his trip. We believe he was coached by those who had travelled before him on how to prepare for the journey, how to avoid detection and how to act if he was stopped. Nevertheless, these precautions were not enough to prevent his arrest and prosecution.”

During the investigation officers recovered a wealth of material from Maher’s mobiles phones, including Daesh propaganda and material which demonstrated support for violent jihad.