Haroon Syed, a 19-year-old, has been sentenced to life in jail for planning to bomb an Elton John concert or Oxford Street in London.
Syed admitted in court to planning acts of terror and attempting to acquire weapons including a suicide bomb and machine gun.
British security services caught Syed while posing as a fellow extremist named “Abu Yusuf” after learning that Syed had been radicalized when his brother was arrested and jailed in June 2016 for plotting to carry out a beheading.
The judge in the case, Michael Topolski, said that due to Syed’s plans to carry out “an act of mass murder,” a discretionary life sentence would be applied, with a minimum time served of 16 years and six months.
Despite the role of MI5 agents in maintaining contact with Syed and giving him advice on procuring weapons and planning an attack, the judge determined that Syed was not lured, enticed, nor entrapped.
“You became, and in my judgment as shown by your online activities away from your contact with Abu Yusuf, deeply committed to the ideology of a brutal and barbaric organization that sought to hijack and corrupt an ancient and venerable religion for its own purposes and you wanted to be part of it,” Judge Topolski concluded.
While in contact with Abu Yusuf, Syed repeatedly attempted to have the contact get weapons for him, as he was turned down for loans.
When asked by disguised MI5 agents about planned targets, Syed suggested Oxford Street, and later agents found he had also searched for other targets, including an upcoming Elton John concert.
Syed was arrested on September 8. His defence argued Syed was vulnerable “due to family history, lack of education, addiction to violent online games and the arrest and imprisonment of his brother.”