Police last night made the first arrest in a new blitz on convicted terrorists who are free to walk our streets.
An Islamist jailed alongside London Bridge killer Usman Khan was dramatically held for allegedly plotting a fresh atrocity.
Nazam Hussain, 34, was detained just hours after Boris Johnson announced a top-level review into the licence conditions of 74 convicted terrorists who are now out of jail.
An Islamist jailed alongside London Bridge killer Usman Khan (left) was dramatically held for allegedly plotting a fresh atrocity. Nazam Hussain (right), 34, was detained just hours after Boris Johnson announced a top-level review into the licence conditions of 74 convicted terrorists who are now out of jail
Forensic officers attend a property in Lanehead Road, Stoke-on-Trent, that is linked to terrorist Khan
Police conduct a final sweep of London Bridge before it reopened in the early hours of today
Officers with torches made sure nothing had been missed before the public were allowed back on to the bridge for the first time since Friday’s attack
London Bridge reopened to pedestrians and traffic at around midnight. The police thanked the public for their patience during the two days it was closed off for forensic examination
Hussain was originally jailed in 2012 as part of a terror cell which was plotting to attack the London Stock Exchange and other high-profile targets in the City of London.
His arrest means new offences were allegedly discovered within hours of the review being demanded – raising serious questions about how convicted terrorists are supervised after being freed from jail.
The police move came two days after Khan, 28, murdered two people at a prisoner rehabilitation conference less than a year after being released from prison.
His second victim was yesterday named as former Cambridge University student Saskia Jones, 23, who had recently applied to join the police.
On Sunday evening police were seen doing a last minute search by torchlight of London Bridge before reopening it.
The police move came two days after Khan, 28, murdered two people at a prisoner rehabilitation conference less than a year after being released from prison
Khan’s second victim was yesterday named as former Cambridge University student Saskia Jones (left and right), 23, who had recently applied to join the police
She had been volunteering at the conference at Fishmongers’ Hall, near London Bridge, when Khan began his rampage on Friday afternoon.
Miss Jones’ family paid tribute to her ‘funny, kind, positive influence’ and said she was ‘generous to the point of always wanting to see the best in all people’.
Specialist officers from the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit arrested Hussain in Stoke-on-Trent yesterday.
Sources confirmed he was being held ‘on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts’.
He’ll end up in hell, says his Imam
The Imam of the mosque where London Bridge terrorist Usman Khan worshipped as a child yesterday condemned the attack.
Abdul Qadir Hashmi said his actions ‘cannot be justified under any circumstances’ and according to his religion the killer would ‘end up in hell’.
Khan grew up in the Cobridge area of Stoke-on-Trent and attended the Ghausia Mosque, before he left home in his late teens.
Imam Hashmi said the community’s thoughts were with the victims. He said: ‘My prayers are with the victims and relatives of those who were killed. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the victims of this terrible act.
‘As Imam, I condemn any killing of innocent human beings. The religion I practice day in day out has no connection with those who choose to kill innocent people. The actions of this young man are wrong and cannot be justified under any circumstances. The Koran is clear, anyone who kills anyone else unjustly will end up in hell, no two ways about it.’
Police continued to search the home where Khan’s parents live yesterday and the Imam also said his thoughts were with the killer’s family. ‘The parents are as helpless as anyone else because they had no control over their child’s actions,’ he said.
He is believed to have been freed from jail less than a year ago, at roughly the same time as Khan. In other developments it emerged that:
- Khan – who schoolfriends said used to carry a photo of Osama bin Laden – was poised to begin a course at Cambridge University;
- The authorities forced him to be accompanied by an escort on a previous trip to London in March but this time he was allowed to travel to the capital alone by train;
- The killer had been seen driving a taxi in his home town of Stoke-on-Trent;
- Britain’s most notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary claimed Khan and Hussain were ‘entirely innocent’ when they were jailed for the Stock Exchange plot in 2012.
Mr Johnson yesterday pledged to toughen anti-terror laws and said it was ‘repulsive’ that someone as dangerous as Khan had served only eight years behind bars after plotting to carry out acts of terrorism.
The Prime Minister told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘I think it is ridiculous, I think it is repulsive, that individuals as dangerous as this man should be allowed out after serving only eight years and that’s why we are going to change the law.’
He blamed Labour for changing to the law in 2008 so offenders serving Khan’s type of jail term were automatically released without a parole hearing after serving half of it.
‘I’m sure people can imagine what we’re doing to ensure that 74 other individuals who’ve been let out early on the basis of this Labour change in legislation, they are being properly invigilated to make sure there is no threat,’ the Prime Minister said.
Ministry of Justice officials are understood to be going through emails and phone records to ensure that licensing conditions are being met, as reported by The Telegraph.
Mr Corbyn argued that cuts to public services had contributed to the attack on Friday.
Khan was on licence and wearing a GPS monitoring tag when he attended the conference on prisoner rehabilitation hosted by a Cambridge University scheme called Learning Together at Fishmongers’ Hall.
The other person killed was Jack Merritt, 25, from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, who worked in the university’s criminology department.
His grieving family said he was a ‘beautiful, talented boy’ who died ‘doing what he loved’. Floral tributes were placed at the scene in memory of Mr Merritt yesterday, including a sign which read: ‘I love you forever. I am so so proud of you.’
Her fellow Cambridge graduate Jack Merritt (pictured) was a coordinator at the event on Friday
Both the victims were killed inside the building before Khan was bundled outside where he was overpowered by members of the public and then shot dead by police.
Two other victims remain in a stable condition in hospital. A third has been allowed home.
Khan had applied for a ‘continuing education’ course at Cambridge University and was due to begin studying there within weeks.
Security services are analysing all the electronic devices seized from his address in Stafford to work out how long he had been planning the attack and whether anyone else was involved.
One Whitehall source said: ‘It is still quite a puzzle as to how someone who appeared to be a reformed character decided to do this.’
Khan was among the 3,000 terrorists being monitored by the security services, but he was not under round-the-clock surveillance, it is understood.
To have monitored him any more closely would have taken resources away from someone known to be planning an attack, sources said.
Khan and Hussain are both thought have been disciples of hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
They had both planned to travel to Pakistan in January 2011, but were arrested shortly before leaving.
Dr Rakib Ehsan, research fellow at security think-tank the Henry Jackson Society, said: ‘A more uncompromising approach must be taken when dealing with those who have been found guilty of such crimes, in the name of broader public safety.
‘The 74 other released jihadists are likely to include those who continue to pose a threat to society.
‘We know Usman Khan’s original co-conspirators to be amongst the most hardened jihadists. All were convicted for involvement with plotting to carry out deadly terrorist attacks on locations including the London Stock Exchange.
‘In light of the deadly act of terror on Friday, there is a strong case for other plotters who have been released from prison, to be recalled immediately by the authorities. These are dangerous people who all could pose a similar risk to society.’
A police spokesman said: ‘Officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit have arrested a man in Stoke-on-Trent. A search warrant was conducted… in connection to a wider on-going review of existing licence conditions of convicted terrorism offenders.
‘As a result of a search of his home address, the 34-year-old was arrested on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
‘These searches continue.’
Jail time is up – so are these fanatics back on the streets?
Left to right: Mohibur Rahman, 35 Jailed for five years in 2012. Behind bars again, 20-year sentence. Gurukanth Desai, 37 Prepared for acts of terrorism. Jailed for 12 years in February 2012. Now free. Abdul Miah, 33 Prepared for acts of terrorism. Jailed for over 16 years in 2012. Now free. Usman khan, 28 London bridge attacker. Mohammad Chowdhury, 29 Key to 2012 plot. Jailed for 14 years, now back in prison. Mohammed Shahjahan, 34 Sentenced to 17 years ten months in 2013. Now free
Omar Latif, 35, jailed for assisting in preparation for terrorism. Latiff, pictured on Sunday, sentenced to ten years in 2012. Now free
Left: Mohammed Bhatti: Conspiracy to cause explosion Jailed for 20 years in 2007. Right: Junade Feroze Conspiracy to cause explosion Jailed for 22 years in 2007
Left: Mohammed Zia Ul Haq. Conspiracy to cause explosion Jailed for 18 years in 2007. Right: Yunes Tsouli. Inciting murder Jailed for 16 years in 2007
Left: Habib Ahmed. Acts preparatory to terror Jailed for 10 years in 2008. Right: Rangzieb ahmed. Directing terror in 2008 Jailed minimum 10 years
Left: Munir Farooqi. Soliciting murder in 2011 Jailed minimum 9 years. Right: Jamshed Javeed. Acts preparatory to terrorism Jailed for 6 years in 2015
Left: Kazi Islam. Preparing for terrorism Jailed for 8 years in 2015. Right: Zakariya ashiq. Preparing for terrorism Jailed for 6 years in 2015
Left: Stephen Gray. Preparing for terrorism Jailed for 5 years in 2016. Right: Trevor Mulindwa. Preparing for terrorism Jailed for 6 years in 2015
Left: Imran Mahmood. Preparing acts of terrorism Jailed for over 9 years in 2013. Right: Anjem Choudary. Inviting support of a proscribed organisation
Left: Omar Abdur Rehman. Conspiracy to cause explosion Jailed for 15 years in 2007. Right: Qaisar Shaffi. Conspiracy to murder Jailed for 15 years in 2007