It took jurors just over a day to find Mohammed Abbas Idris Awan, of Dun Street, Sheffield guilty of one offence of engaging in the preparation of an act of terrorism and two offences of possessing a record likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
Judge Paul Watson QC adjourned the case until Wednesday, December 20 when Awan will be sentenced. The former University of Sheffield student was remanded into custody until that time.
Awan's home in Sheffield and his family address in Huddersfield were raided in June this year by North East counter terrorism officers following an intelligence led investigation.
Opening the case against Mohammed Abbas Awan at Sheffield Crown Court last month, prosecutor, Simon Davis, said it is the Crown’s case that Awan was in possession of a significant volume of ideological material, including videos that ‘glorify and promote the activities of Islamic State’.
Awan claimed the material found on his electronic devices belonged to his brother, Rizwan Awan, who joined Isis and blew himself up in a suicide bombing in Syria in March last year.
Mr Davis told the court how three days before Awan was arrested in connection with the alleged terrorism offences in Sheffield on June 1 this year, he had made an order on eBay for 500 ball bearings and a sling shot; and was ‘researching the injuries that could be caused to human beings by the use of a slingshot using ball bearings’.
He was also in possession of a book called How To Survive In The West which aims to get the reader to support the actions of Islamic State; and includes information on bomb making, survival techniques and a chapter on ‘primitive weapons’ which offers advice on handling such weapons, including slingshots, before ‘graduating on to more sophisticated weapons,’ explained Mr Davis.
“The Defendant purchased a slingshot as well as ball bearings, which the book recommends to be used as shrapnel for a home made bomb in a later chapter on bomb making,” continued Mr Davis.
He added: “It is plain that a jury would be entitled to come to the conclusion that the Defendant was using the document as a reference guide for what he was later to follow through.
"The Prosecution say that the Defendant was knowingly in possession of the document which was of a kind likely to be useful for a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.” Mr Davis told the court that materials held by Awan also included a video entitled 'Commander Hamzah Zinjibary's Training Camp' which demonstrates in graphic detail tactics for 'terrorists using an assault rifle' as well as physical violence including: stabbing, garroting and beheading.
Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson, Head of Investigations at Counter Terrorism Policing North East said, “Following his arrest and the subsequent house searches a number of exhibits were seized, including 11 mobile phones, 16 USB memory sticks and 7 computers. Specialist officers and staff examined a vast quantity of data and found a significant amount of terrorism related material.
“Awan was influenced by the material he had researched online which included numerous Daesh propaganda sites. He purchased ballbearings online and information about the use of these in attacks was contained in the material he had downloaded.
“Whilst we do not know the full details of Awan’s intentions, officers intervened swiftly before Awan could put any plans into practice. Public safety is, and always will be, our priority when making operational decisions.
“We urge the public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police by calling the police, in confidence, on 0800 789321 or in an emergency by dialling 999. Suspicious activity is anything that seems out of place, unusual or just doesn’t seem to fit in with day-to-day life.
All information passed to the police through the anti-Terrorist Hotline is treated in the strictest of confidence. It is thoroughly analysed and researched by experienced officers before, and if, any police action is taken.” #ActionCountersTerrorism