- Yahya Rashid, 19, used forged BTEC certificate to gain university place
- He then blew student loan on travelling to Syria to join ISIS with friends
- However, he got cold feet after speaking to his father and was arrested
- Today, the teen was convicted of terror crimes at Woolwich Crown Court
- His defence team say he is vulnerable man with IQ of between 65 and 70
A London teenager blew his student loan on travelling to Syria to join ISIS - and duped airport police by claiming the group was hoping to find love in the war-torn country, a court today heard.
Yahya Rashid, 19, used a forged BTEC certificate to gain a place at Middlesex University despite having an IQ of between 65 and 70 - far below the average of between 85 and 115.
He then used a loan and educational grants that he was entitled to claim to take four friends from his mosque with him to the Turkey-Syria border via Morocco, Woolwich Crown Court heard.
Conviction: Yahya Rashid (pictured in his mugshot), 19, blew his student loan on travelling to Syria to join ISIS - and duped airport police by claiming the group was hoping to find love in the war-torn country, a court heard
But while Rashid's friends crossed to border to Syria, the teenager, then only 18, backed out and remained in Turkey after talking to his father.
He then returned to the UK and was arrested.
Today, Rashid was convicted of engaging in conduct in preparation for committing an act of terrorism, and engaging in conduct with the intention of assisting others to commit acts of terrorism.
He had denied both terror charges, court officials said.
The teenager's trial heard that the group were stopped and questioned by police at Gatwick Airport as they left the UK but were subsequently allowed to board their flight to Casablanca.
Rashid was able to outfox a suspicious police officer the airport when he arrived ‘out of breath’ at the departure gate with his pals Khalid Abdul-Rahman and Ibrahim Amouri, the court heard.
PC Jane Duggan told the young men she was worried they might be on route to Iraq or Syria.
However, they told the officer they were looking for love, not war.
‘They said they were going to find girls and have a good time,’ she said in a statement read out in court. ‘They said they didn’t like fighting and they liked the good life.’
The group then started a journey that led them eventually to the Turkish border town of Gaziantep.
Rashid, whose family is originally from Somalia, paid £906 for five return flights to Morocco for himself and four others - Khalid Abdul-Rahman, Ibrahim Amouri, Swaleh Mohammed and Mr Mohammed's wife, Deqo Osman, who all attended Wembley Mosque with the defendant.
The jury was told that before he left the UK Rashid's YouTube account had ticked 'like' on around 300 YouTube videos, many of them Islamist-themed, although it could not be proved he had personally ticked them.
It had also been used to make comments under other videos, including one on the Charlie Hebdo massacre where a comment was left saying: 'Allah Akbar (God is great). This makes me happy.'
Facing jail: Today, Rashid (pictured) was convicted of engaging in conduct in preparation for committing an act of terrorism
Giving evidence, Rashid, who was arrested at Luton airport on 31 March, said he could not remember how he paid for a flight home from the Syrian border.
He claimed he had got cold feet about joining ISIS jihadis, it is said, and snuck out of a safe house to make his way back to the UK.
Rashid struggled to remember large parts of his journey home, and said he recalled a mystery donor coming to his aid at the airport in Istanbul.
‘I can’t really remember where I went but I got to an airport and I met some guy and he gave me the money for me some money to pay for my flight to Istanbul,' he said.
‘I can’t really remember how or why but he gave me the money that paid for my flight.
I stayed in a hotel when I got back to Istanbul, I think I had some money left and that’s how I paid for it.
‘My father told me to go to the British Embassy and tell them I needed some money to get back to the UK, I was there for maybe an hour and then the police came and arrested me.’
The defence had claimed Rashid was a vulnerable young man with a low IQ who had done the right thing by turning back, before being arrested.
Defence barrister Mark McDonald told the jury the teenager did not want to fight for IS but simply wanted to live in what he thought was an 'Islamic utopia'.
‘You have a young man who starts off being influenced by other individuals, but realising the situation he has got himself into turns around and makes his way back to the UK,' he said.
It is up to psychiatrists to judge whether defendants with low IQs are unfit to plead.
Jurors took two and a half days to deliver a majority verdict and found Rashid, from Willesden in north-west London, guilty of preparing to commit an act of terrorism between 1 November 2014 and 31 March 2015 and a charge of assisting others to commits acts of terrorism over the same period.
The defendant will be sentenced at the court on November 18.