Saturday, August 29, 2015

Manchester schoolgirl, 16, admits terror offences after being arrested with her jihadi boyfiend who plotted Anzac Day attacks in Australia

  • 16-year-old girl from Manchester has pleaded guilty to two terror offences
  • She was arrested in April after police found graphic ISIS images on phone
  • Also searched Jihadi John online at school and had bomb-making recipes
  • Her teen boyfriend plotted attack on police at Australia Anzac Day parade
A 16-year-old schoolgirl from Manchester arrested with her teenage jihadi boyfriend who plotted to attack police officers at an Anzac Day parade in Australia has pleaded guilty to terror offences.

The teenage girl, who cannot be named due to her age, was arrested in April after using her school computers to look up Islamic State killer Jihadi John and sketching out bomb-making recipes.

She was detained by anti-terror police alongside Britain's youngest convicted Islamic terrorist, a 14-year-old boy from Blackburn, Lancashire, who is also her boyfriend.

He has already admitted encouraging an ISIS-inspired terror attack on officers at the annual Anzac parade, pleading guilty at the Old Bailey last month to inciting terrorism abroad.   

The teenage girl, who cannot be named (pictured outside court today) has pleaded guilty to two terror offences after being caught her school computers to look up ISIS killer Jihadi John and sketching bomb-making recipes
The teenage girl, who cannot be named (pictured outside court today) has pleaded guilty to two terror offences after being caught her school computers to look up ISIS killer Jihadi John and sketching bomb-making recipes

During the course of the investigation into the boy, who also cannot be named, it was established that he had communicated with the 16-year-old girl from South Manchester.

Within an eight-day period between March 18 and March 25 this year, the pair exchanged a total of 16,260 WhatsApp messages.

It does not appear that the pair ever met, but the boy sent a number of photographs of himself, and the girl sent a single photograph in return.

The vast majority of the chat showed they were in a relationship and included many declarations of love and discussions about marriage, children and their future lives together.

But other conversations were centred around their shared views on the benefits of travel to Syria.

The boy had sent her a screenshot of his conversation with a man using the name 'Illyas' - who was actually an Australian man called Sevdet Besim - and the girl made comments about the Anzac terror attack plans before saying that she had plans of her own.

As a result of the communications, the schoolgirl was arrested on April 3 on suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism and her house was searched.

Several items were seized including a sketch pad which contained a handwritten recipe for explosives, which the girl claimed was part of her school work.

She told police that the chemical recipe was in response to a Blue Peter programme on fireworks that she had seen.

However, analysis by Greater Manchester Police's 'Hi-Tech' unit revealed a number of extremist documents on the girl's Blackberry phone.

Bloodthirsty imagery included pictures of a dead child, an execution and people about to be beheaded, along with images of guns, knives and grenades, and pictures of ISIS symbols and flags.

She also had images of quotes that included: 'I love that I should be killed in the way of Allah' and 'Only Jihad No Democracy'.

An al-Qaeda recipe called 'Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom' included instructions for producing a pipe bomb and timer circuit.

The Hi-Tech unit found the Anarchists Cookbook 2000 had been saved to the mobile phone memory card on January 28 and again on March 21.

The girl also had copies of the online English-language magazine produced by ISIS called Dabiq.

There were also images of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and the al-Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki.

Sources say the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had never been in trouble and appeared to be a normal teenager until four months before she was arrested.

However, she is believed to have had links to 16-year-old twins Salma and Zahra Halane, who had 28 GCSEs between them but left for Syria in June last year.

Police searched the girl's school during their investigation and downloaded a disc of files from the IT network under her login.

In November last year, the internet activity consisted of general Google enquiries but by December there were searches for the Taliban and Islamic State.

In January this year, she moved on to search for the ISIS executioner known as Jihadi John, as well as balaclavas and Islamic State.

The following month she looked for Jihadi John again along with images of Woolwich killer Michael Adebolajo.

There was also an image of a girl with the words: 'I will be the one who slaughters you o kuffar [non-believer]; I will be a mujahid [holy fighter], insha' allah [god willing].'

The searches included the Anarchists Cookbook and Junaid Hussain, a computer hacker from Birmingham who joined ISIS.

In March, the internet activity included searches for Jihadi John under his real name, 

Mohammed Emwazi, which had just be disclosed, along with numerous searches for hackers and handbooks.

Australian: The teenage boy from Blackburn was just 14 when he encouraged Sevdet Besim (pictured), 18, to murder an officer, with the two sharing thousands of enthusiastic messages online that also praised ISIS
Australian: The teenage boy from Blackburn was just 14 when he encouraged Sevdet Besim (pictured), 18, to murder an officer, with the two sharing thousands of enthusiastic messages online that also praised ISIS

The sketch book recipe is said to be a 'viable recipe for explosives' according to an explosives expert.

According to prosecutors: 'The information would clearly be useful to a terrorist in two ways: firstly it provides instructions on how to produce explosives and secondly it provides a method to avoid detection by the authorities – by producing the ingredients rather than purchasing them, which would potentially alert the authorities.'

An explosives expert has explained that the Anarchists cookbook was written as a 'how to' type manual and the contents includes recipes and instructions on how to make a wide range of explosives, including examples of primary and secondary charges.

Details were given on how to combine the explosives into a range of devices including fuses, detonators and a 'nail grenade.'

The expert concluded that the majority of the methods within the document appeared to be accurate and they would therefore be useful to a terrorist.

However, no evidence was found that she was aware or played any part in the Anzac Day plot or any plan to harm others or incite terrorism in the UK or elsewhere, the court heard. 

Since 1915, Anzac Day has been marked with ceremonies of remembrance across Australia to pay tribute to the 50,000 Australians and New Zealanders who fought on the shores of Turkey.

Wearing a headscarf and striped cardigan, the girl pleaded guilty to two offences under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 when she appeared at the Youth Court at Manchester Magistrates' Court today.

The youngster, who was excused from sitting in the dock and instead sat on a bench in front of the judge, flanked by her mother, an uncle and her solicitor, spoke only to confirm her name, age and her plea.

She was granted bail by District Judge Khalid Qureshi, who agreed to adjust her bail conditions to allow her to attend college.

The girl's bail conditions include a 9pm to 7am curfew, reporting to police three times a week, a ban on applying for travel documents or a passport and a ban on travelling outside England and Wales.

She will be seen by a youth offending team and a psychologist before she is sentenced on October 15.

Judge Qureshi warned her that because of the law, his sentencing options would include immediate custody, adding: 'The youth offending team will want to interview you and your family.

'It is very much in your interests that you are open and honest with them about what's happened, if you are able to tell them why you got involved in what you got involved in.

'I will be asking you some questions directly about your conduct, your behaviour, why you think it has happened. I need to try to understand why this happened.'

Her jihadi boyfriend faces sentencing at Manchester Crown Court on September 3 and is being held in an unidentified youth detention centre in the north west of England. 

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