- Mohammed Rehman, 25, plotted attack on London on anniversary of 7/7
- Jihadi dream was funded by payday loans taken out by Sana Ahmed Khan
- Secretly-married pair bought chemicals and practised explosions in garden
- Rehman was arrested after posting for advice about foiled plot on Twitter
- More than 10kg of explosives found in raid at home in Reading, Berkshire
- 'Low life' Rehman and graduate Khan, 24, will be sentenced later this week
An aspiring suicide bomber and his secret wife who had a 'common interest' in violent jihad have been found guilty of planning an ISIS-inspired terror attack on London after testing lethal bombs in their back garden.
Mohammed Rehman, 25, planned to blow up either Westfield shopping centre or the London Underground to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings.
His jihadi dream was funded by his wife Sana Ahmed Khan, 24, who used payday loans to buy fertiliser which her husband engineered into bombs.
The court heard how the couple, who wed in secret in a traditional Islamic ceremony, immersed themselves in ISIS and Al Qaeda propaganda and idolised 7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer.
Mohammed Rehman, 25 (left) and Sana Ahmed Khan, 24 (right) have been found guilty of planning an ISIS-inspired terror attack on London after testing lethal bombs in their back garden
Their plot was only foiled when Rehman - who called himself the 'silent bomber' - sent a tweet asking for advice on which was the best target
They even test fired one of their bombs in Rehman's back garden and recorded it on film.
Their plot was only foiled when Rehman - who called himself the 'silent bomber' - sent a tweet asking for advice on which was the best target.
As their plans gathered pace, Rehman asked his followers: 'Westfield shopping centre or London underground?'
The tweet - sent from a profile showing a photograph of Jihadi John - was accompanied by a link to the al Qaeda uncensored media release about the July 7 atrocities.
Officers then raided Rehman's home in Reading, Berkshire, where they found 10kg of nitrate explosives - double the amount of powder used in the failed 21/7 London bombings.
The prosecution said the would-be bomber was just days away from completing the device which would have caused multiple casualties in the capital.
Today, the pair - who turned on one another during the trial - were found guilty of preparing terrorist acts following three days of deliberations.
Rehman was also convicted of possessing an article for terrorist purposes following the trial at the Old Bailey. The are due to be sentenced later this week.
During the trial, the court was told how the couple had met as teenagers and went on to marry without their families' knowledge.
Despite living separately, they bonded over their shared extreme ideology and started plotting the 'catastrophic' attack on the capital.
Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC told the court that the pair shared a 'common interest' in violent jihad.
Rehman's online research showed he approved and 'wished to play his own part'. He had written out a pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and also stashed a Jihadi John style hunting knife in his bedroom.
He also had explosives and bomb-making manuals on his phone and computer.
During the trial, the jury was shown footage of Rehman testing the home-made bomb in his back garden
Meanwhile, Khan helped fuel his violent ambition by paying for chemicals bought on eBay, the court was told.
Mr Badenoch said their secret marriage showed the couple to be 'deceitful' and adept at leading a 'double life'.
'They wanted, this needy couple, to have a sense of purpose and they found one as you have seen,' he said. 'It isn't such a surprise they were such fertile ground for violent Islamic extremism.'
The suspicions of security services were aroused in May this year when Rehman began spewing out ISIS supporting rants against the West on Twitter.
In one tweet, Rehman referred to the tenth aniversary of the 7/7 attacks and told a follower: 'Are you actually trying? Why don't you head to the London Underground on the 7th of July if YOU got the balls.'
Rehman posted another photograph of explosives on his Twitter account saying 'not bad for an amateur!'
In other tweets, he boldly stated 'I'm preparing for an Istishaadi [martyrdom] operation' and bragged: 'Now I just make explosives in preparations for kuffar lol & when I've made the required amount I'll be wearing them on my chest'.
An undercover officer calling himself Abu Mohammed then posed as a fellow extremist to lure Rehman into sharing his plans.
The officer said Rehman's boast that he was 'locked and loaded' raised concerns, and when he made contact Rehman told him: 'The only most effective attack would be a martyrdom op'.
Police swooped on Rehman and Khan on May 28 - just over a month before the anniversary of the 7/7 attacks which killed 52 Londoners.
Rehman tweeted from an account calling himself 'Silent Bomber'
Rehman fled his home to a nearby Co-op where he was stopped by armed police, despite trying to kick and punch his way out.
He insisted there was nothing dangerous in his home, despite having tweeted that he had 'a surprise waiting for them'.
He also claimed to have rigged up a bomb which could be triggered at the touch of a button at his bedside, saying: 'Nobody gets in the way of my jihad.'
Officers found were a Jihadi John-style hunting knife and chemicals for a massive bomb which was days from completion.
After his arrest, Rehman claimed he was only pretending to be a 'Jihadi warrior'. The couple also turned on each other during a trial at the Old Bailey, accusing each other of being the real Islamic extremist.
But evidence showed Khan - who has a degree in English from the University of Greenwich - had been funding the bomb factory with her wages and by taking out loans.
Rehman, wearing a purple jumper, gold shirt and gold tie, and Khan, in a purple jumper and brown scarf, showed no emotion as the verdicts were read out, but Khan glanced up to the public gallery as they were led off to the cells.
Following the verdicts Susan Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) counter-terrorism division, said the intent to carry out a terrorist attack was 'clear' from Rehman's threatening tweets, and that the couple had carried out 'huge amounts of research' online.
She said: 'The pair had been very close to carrying out an attack, all they required was to purchase the chemicals to make a detonator.
'There is little doubt that, had Rehman and Ahmed Khan not been stopped when they were, they would have attempted to carry out an act of terrorism in London.'
Following the hearing, a woman, thought to be Khan's sister, left the Old Bailey in tears, her head covered by a newspaper.
Rehman and Khan were caught following a joint investigation by West Midlands Police and Thames Valley Police.
Rehman, 25, planned to blow up either Westfield shopping centre (pictured) or the London Underground to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings
Assistant Chief Constable Laura Nicholson, head of the South East Counter Terrorism Unit and Regional Organised Crime Unit, said the pair were 'dangerous individuals' who represented a 'genuine threat'.
She said: 'It is clear that Rehman and Khan shared a radical and violent extremist ideology. They actively accessed extremist material on the internet and used social media to develop and share their views as they prepared acts of terrorism.
'The removal of access to terrorist and violent extremist material on the internet is a critical element in preventing radicalisation and terrorist atrocities and we will continue to work with partners to remove such material whenever it is discovered.'
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, counter terrorism lead for the West Midlands, said: 'Whilst we remain concerned about people travelling to Syria and the risk they pose should they return to the UK, we also consider the threat posed by UK-based individuals and groups who have never travelled or intended to do so.
'There's no doubt Mohammed Rehman and Sana Khan were two such people and that the internet played a significant part in their radicalisation.'
A sentencing hearing will begin on Wednesday when the judge, Mr Justice Baker, will hear mitigation from the defendants' legal teams.
The middle-class JP's daughter who turned her back on her family for a life of debt, drugs and jihad with her terrorist husband
She grew up on a leafy, suburban street in Reading and had dreams of becoming a teacher after graduating from university with an English degree.
But Sana Khan instead became embroiled in a life of drugs and jihad, abandoning her middle class upbringing to seek solace in radical Islam along with her secret terrorist husband.
The 24-year-old, described as mild-mannered and polite, then plotted a 'catastrophic' suicide bombing in London along with her husband Mohammed Rehman, whom she had met as a teenager and later went on to marry without her family's knowledge.
A collage made up of photos of Rehamn and Khan, who have been found guilty of planning a massive terror attack on London to coincide with the 10th anniversary of 7/7
She funded the planned terror campaign, taking out payday loans to purchase deadly chemicals, before 'repeatedly' watching the martyrdom video of 7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer.
The pair - who were said to have had a 'common interest' in violent and extreme Islamic ideology but turned on one another in court - have now been found guilty of preparing for a terrorist attack.
Khan was brought up with her family in Reading, where her mother was a senior manager in Reading Borough Council's Youth and Community Service. She later went on to join the Reading-based company Solutions4Health where she was responsible for a department of 75 employees.
She also sat as a Justice of the Peace and a school governor at the Church of England school attended by her children.
The family owned two Mercedes cars and a third 'runabout', a Toyota Yaris that Khan was allowed to use.
As Rahman and Khan turned on each other in court, Sana Khan's barrister's Paul Lewis QC, accused her husband of trying to blackmail her, threatening to divorce her in order to get spending money for drugs.
The chemical-stained clothing worn by Rehman, which was found in a bin bag by police in a raid on his home
This picture shows a page from a notebook recovered by police on which Rehman has written a detailed list for producing an IED
The court heard how she took out £800 in four pay day loans from Quick Quid and paid him a total of more than £12,000 over the course of 17 months.
The money amounted to almost all of her combined salary of just more than £1,000 a month from Aldryngton and Early primary school, where she was an after school activity co-ordinator, and Solutions 4Health, the stop smoking firm where her she was a data entry clerk.
Most of it went on drugs – the bomb-making chemicals and equipment bought on eBay and cannabis farming websites, cost just £643.75.
One family friend described Khan as a 'gentle mild-mannered young woman who relates well with adults and particularly with children.'
Another said her parents kept a 'close guard over their children' and emphasised their 'responsibilities as citizens.'
Mr Lewis said Khan was 'a thoroughly decent young woman from a thoroughly decent family,' who had graduated in English literature with a 2:1 degree and began working in the same company as her mother, while helping children at an after school club.
'You may think, what on earth Sana Khan saw in the man now sitting next to her in the dock,' Mr Lewis said. 'You may find it difficult to fathom but she loved him, showered money on him and fed his drug habit again and again.'
Chemicals were being prepared for a massive bomb, which was just days away from completion, the court heard. Pictured, some of the chemicals that were seized from Rehman's Reading home
Her mother disapproved of the relationship and Miss Khan promised to break it off. Mr Lewis said: 'If ever a parent had an instinct that was proved right, it was Mrs Khan.'
Khan's older sister, Saima Ahmed Khan, 28, first become aware of Rehman when Sana was 14 and still at school and they would see Rehman walking past the house on his way to see another girlfriend.
She said she was aware that Rehman had an 'interest in' her sister but not what kind of contact they had.
Saima said Rehman was the 'only point of tension' within an otherwise close family and said her sister was a 'beautiful, beautiful girl.'
Khan's mother, Saleen Ahmed Khan, 56, told the court that her husband had caught the couple sitting in the family car two years ago and banned them from seeing each other.
She said she was unaware until police told her that they had then got married in a secret religious ceremony in October 2013.
Detectives found equipment at Rehman's home which was used in preparation for the foiled attack
This 'Jihadi John-style' hunting knife was also uncovered during the police raid on Rehman's home
'I can understand why Sana would have kept that private because we were very, very much against this young man.
'I explained to her, we don't know who this individual is or his background. Asian marriages are often about two families coming together and that's how marriages are often very, very successful.
'I was very concerned that what I had heard from the community about Mr Rehman was very, very negative, therefor I didn't see him as the right choice for my daughter.
'She had ambition, she could make her own choices, she had led a comfortable life as a moderate Muslim.
'He had no education, possibly school but that's it, he didn't have any ambitions and I also found out from the community that he was married and I was concerned whether she knew he was married – and he took drugs.'
Mrs Khan went on: 'I don't know what hold this person has on my daughter, how he's manipulated her, how that took place, because if Sana wanted to marry him and she had said to us 'Mum, Dad: I want to marry him' we would have said, 'Yes you can marry him, but we will cut off all contact'.
Khan's father, Javed Ahmed Khan, 54, a chauffeur, said he became suspicious after finding a mobile phone bill with lengthy calls to an unidentified number.
A broken device that was recovered by police from Rehman's home in Reading
He described how he had followed his daughter, who was driving her mother's car, as she drove to a Tesco car park to meet Rehman in 2014.
'I wanted to check on her,' he told the court. 'He was in the car with my daughter and I told him to leave and I said I don't want to see you with my daughter next time.
'He said he won't, this is the last time he'll see her. I told her not to see him again because he's not the right person. This guy, I didn't want my daughter to have anything to do with him.'
Rehman had been quite embarrassed and the confrontation ended when he cycled off on a child's bicycle.
Mr Khan said he had followed her because he wanted to see 'with my own eyes' but added: 'She said she won't see him again. When it's your child, you don't want her to see a man who's not good for her. I said I don't want you to see him again and she said OK, she wouldn't.'
HOW REHMAN'S PLOT UNFOLDED IN THE TWITTERSPHERE
Khan attended Greenwich University, where she gained a 2:1 degree in English but she moved back home and commuted for an hour and a half each day to lectures because she was fed up with all the male attention she attracted.
'She was extremely unhappy,' her mother said. 'She attracted a lot of attention from other students and men in particular and that is something she didn't like.'
Her mother said they were a 'multi-religious family' explaining that her mother-in-law was a Christian and her mother's side of the family were converts to Islam from Hinduism.
'We are Muslim, but moderate,' she said. 'We have a multi-religious background and we have brought up our children to respect all religions.'
She described her daughter as a 'genuinely bubbly, likable person' adding: 'Out of all my daughters, she is the most popular with neighbours or at school.'
But her daughter had suffered from a loss of confidence after putting on weight, she added: 'Her confidence is more volatile.
'As with a lot of young women, they gain weight or in terms of looks, people put them down. It happens with young people all the time. She had a little bit of self-confidence issues but that doesn't mean she wasn't engaged or bubbly or going out with friends.'
At home, she would use her iPad in a pink case to order clothes from the ASOS website and make-up while the family watched TV.
Mrs Khan said her daughter was 'artistic' and was open and honest with her parents, but, referring to Rehman, added: 'The only stumbling block was this person.'
Mrs Khan could not even bring herself to name the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), saying: 'The organisation I don't want to name, it's absolutely disgusting, they're inhumane, abusing our religion. I just can't even express, it makes me so angry.'
But the court heard that Khan had also underlined passages in a copy of the Koran that read: 'Slay them wherever you find them and drive them out from the places they drove you out…such is the reward of the unbelievers.'
Another marked passage read: 'Warfare if ordained for you though it is hateful for you. It may happen that you hate a thing that is good for you and that you love a thing that is bad for you.'
She had also allegedly been watching extremist videos, reading the ISIS publication Dabiq, receiving emails about how to join ISIS, and had invited Rehman to the family home when her parents were away in Florida.
A cousin who was looked on as her 'big brother,' was brought in by the family from London to talk to Sana.
However he does not seem to have helped, giving evidence that he did not recognise most mainstream Muslims and sharing a video about the End of Days with her.
Sana Khan never spoke to police and she did not give evidence in court.
In a written statement to police she said denied knowing anything about Rehman manufacturing explosives and tried to say she had only been doing 'research on the internet' about ISIS.
She said she knew nothing of his Twitter account or the name 'Silent Bomber' beyond a mention he had made of a character in a Playstation game he used to play when he was younger.
Khan said she had known Rehman since 2007 when she was 15 and he a year older.
'Mohammed Rehman has had an addiction to illegal drugs for an incredibly long time, almost since I've known him,' she said. 'This addiction has considerably worsened over the years, especially since he turned 20 years.
'Initially his addiction exclusively consisted of cannabis and since about last year, has progressed to include cocaine. At first I was dead set against his cannabis addiction but I decided to accept it when I also started to use cannabis too.
She said she had given him money for drugs, adding: 'I have supported Mohammed's drug addiction for a considerable period of time…I'm not for one moment suggesting that all the monies which I sent to Mohammed were for drugs but most of them were. The remaining monies would be to support him generally as he was unemployed and not in receipt of any income.'
In court, her barrister, Paul Lewis QC, said Khan believed that she was helping Rehman buy ingredients for manufacturing the street drug crystal meth.
'They were drug users and he has a recipe for making drugs,' Mr Lewis said. 'Yes they were up to something illegal. She thought it was to do with drugs.'
BOMB PLOTTER'S PLEADING LETTER TO MOTHER-IN-LAW: HE WAS WILLING TO DIE BECAUSE HE COULD NOT BE PARTED FROM 'BELOVED' SECRET BRIDE
The 'pathetic' drug addict whose own family turned on him and who then tried to blame his 'diamond' wife for his terror bomb plot
In Rehman's own barrister described him as 'one of life's losers' and an 'ungrateful, disrespectful, pathetic, son, brother and husband.'
Rehman attempted to shift the blame to his wife but was too much of a coward to give evidence.
It was only through his barrister, Zafar Ali QC, that Rehman claimed that Khan was a 'clever and committed extremist' who had tried to manipulate him into carrying out a terrorist attack.
On May 12, Rehman wrote: 'I've rigged my house to blow at the touch of a button by my bedside if the popo [police]try to raid man. NOBODY gets in the way of my Jihad!'
He also posted images of the explosion which he carried out in his garden ahead of the foiled plot
Mr Ali said his client was a 'tragic figure' and a 'pathetic drug user, isolated from the world at large who was desperate to please her.'
'He spent the day trawling the internet and playing combat-inspired video games. The only thing he had in his life was his drugs and Sana Khan,' Mr Ali added.
Khan, he claimed, was leading a 'double life' and was actually looking at buying a 'head to toe' burka in order to move to Syria where she would be 'considered as the revered wife of a martyr.'
In police interviews, Rehman claimed he wanted to commit the 'perfect crime' in order to go to prison and 'get a roof over my head.'
'I was trying to think of the perfect crime where I don't cause any harm to anyone else yet I could probably end up in prison potentially for ever,' he told police following his arrest in May this year.
He explained: 'I just have nothing better to do, I mean, no work, no job, can't find any jobs or anything, I just wanted a bit of excitement in my life.'
Rehman said he was watching ISIS videos on Youtube and Twitter and added that it 'seemed like an exciting life you know and that's all I could really see.'
'I've got nothing to do in my own life. I've got nothing better to do, I just thought it was pretty cool, what's going on,' Rehman said.
'I don't know, I guess, you could just call it freedom, it seemed quite free to me, like driving tanks and having all these big guns and everything. I don't know it just seemed quite free, like a lot of freedom, that's what excited me really.
THE STASH OF CHEMICALS USUALLY FOUND IN A LABORATORY
'The idea of having all this, you know, weaponry and being able to make all these explosives and causing a big stir around the world, this is the only thing that really excited me, to be honest with you, because of that I was inspired, but not inspired to the point where I actually wanted to go out and do something for their cause.'
Rehman was asked what he found attractive about ISIS and told police: 'It's just the controversy of it all' and added: 'I disagreed with the fact that they're just killing a lot of people…but it's the fact that they can actually get out there, make a name for themselves and just do what they're doing and just keep at it and they don't seem to be being beaten, that I've found quite cool.
'Like how it [is] people like this, only a few people, can't seem to be defeated and that's really the only thing that I found quite interesting.'
He said he was smoking cannabis tree or four times a day and had a 'very bad' cocaine habit which meant he was always getting into debt and his wife had to help him out.
'I love her to bits, she's really sweet and she's good to me. I'm good to her but obviously with the way I'm going now, with my drug habits and always taking money off her to pay off my debts and stuff, you know, it's not going too well.
He said he was 'actually quite happy' with his arrest and added: 'I'd like to just have a normal life and just, you know it there's an opportunity here for me, but nothing really seems to be going my way and it's obviously mainly because of the drugs and the fact I couldn't get myself off it and that's really what just pushed me to you know get myself into prison because that's the one way I'm gonna get off the drugs. I am addicted but I don't like my addiction, I hate it.'
In an unusual move, Rehman's family appeared in court to give evidence against him. His older brother, Shaukat was asked if he considered his brother un-Islamic and a 'pathetic person, a corrupt person, a low life who took drugs drank alcohol and messed around with girls.'
'Yes,' he replied.
Rehman's father, Zia Rehman, 53, a bus driver, who also appeared a prosecution witness, said his son was 'just in his own world' and 'starting to become out of control.'
'He got upset about something, I don't know what was bothering him,' his father said, breaking down in tears.
Rehman, who was already a heavy cannabis user, walked out on an arranged marriage in Pakistan when his wife was four months pregnant and returned to Britain.
The child died six weeks after she was born, without Rehman ever seeing her or bothering to return for the funeral.
He had worked at Tesco until he was fired for stealing a chocolate bar and then went to work as a delivery driver for Dominos Pizzas but after returning from Pakistan he never worked again and was constantly borrowing money from his parents to pay his drug debts.
His life spiralled out of control and his sister told the court that she filled two black bin bags with empty beer cans and emptied a waste bin of vomit from his bedroom after their father threw him out of the house.
Yasmin said: 'He stopped loving my dad. They had a couple of arguments and he got aggressive towards my dad. He would swear at him badly, something really disgusting. To be honest, I didn't like him, I hated him because we really tried and no one could reach him.'
When his father wrote a list of things he could do to try and get his life back on track, Rehman burned the note in the middle of the living room floor and his father became too frightened of him to be in the house with him alone.
Rehman, dressed in a maroon v-neck jumper and gold-coloured tie, listened to his family's evidence, occasionally closing his eyes, until his mother, Kha Nasiab Rehman, 50, appeared and he broke down in tears as the court heard how he had stolen £400 from her bank account.