- Supermarket worker from Nottingham planned to join ISIS-linked terror group
- He stocked on military gear while reading extremist magazines online
- He also researched local prostitutes as well as his hobby, crown green bowls
- Combat equipment was found in an Asda bag at his home and in his child's room
Ryan Counsell has been jailed for eight years for trying to join ISIS-linked jihadists
A terrorist who wanted to abandon his wife and child to fight with ISIS-linked jihadists in the Philippines has blamed Brexit as he was jailed for eight years.
Muslim convert Ryan Counsell, 28, was seeking an 'idyllic life' under sharia law, Woolwich Crown Court heard.
He was in the advanced stages of planning his trip to fight with terrorist group 'Abu Sayyaf' when he was arrested last July.
Counsell claimed that after Brexit there was increased tension in the Muslim community in Nottingham so he decided to leave.
He was convicted last month of three counts of possessing documents with terrorist material, and one count engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, after a four week trial.
The jury heard how he spent almost £900 on military-style boots, camouflage clothing, Kevlar boxer shorts and a cheek pad to be attached to the stock of a rifle 'to engage in combat.'
Asda worker Counsell had also booked a return ticket from London to Manila and a connecting flight to Zamboanga, 20 miles from Basiland where ISIS-affiliated Abu Sayyaf regularly clash with the Philippine Army.
The Asda worker had bought supplies for the war zone and planned to abandon his pregnant wife and three-year-old daughter in order to join a group called Abu Sayyaf
The group wounded 14 Philippine soldiers today and a German hostage was beheaded by them on Sunday.
The married father-of-two was arrested at Stansted Airport on 11 July while waiting for a flight to Eindhoven in Holland.
He was not expecting to return.
His barrister John Kearney said Counsell was 'a bit odd' but not violent or an extremist.
Mr Kearney said: 'He wanted to leave the UK to live a humble, simple life, in a Muslim community.
'He discussed going to Somalia. He considered going to Bosnia, and he considered the Philippines.
'He wanted to live in a community under sharia law with what he saw as an idyllic way of life.
'After Brexit there were divisions in his community in Nottingham, he was concerned about the way ordinary people were reacting to ordinary Muslims.
So with that background he was looking for a different way of life.
'He was convicted on the basis that was what he intended to do but it not something he would have been able to do.'
Police raided his home after they were alerted to his purchases of military equipment from a website called UKMC Pro Ltd, beginning in August 2014.
On their arrival at his home, Counsell asked: 'Are you the counter-terrorism police?'
They found military and camping equipment and a 'wealth of Islamic extremist material',
including copies of the al-Qaeda magazine Inspire, the ISIS version called Dabiq, and lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, an influential extremist preacher.
Police also found bomb-making instructions, a document of practical advice for travelling to join ISIS and videos showed showing the decapitation of prisoners by terrorists.
'The defendant had a profound and enduring interest in extremist Islam, jihad and the propaganda of Islamic State and other terrorist organisations,' said Dan Pawson-Pounds, prosecuting.
Among the electronic documents found were 22 copies of 'Hijrah [migrate] to the Islamic State' from 2015 which provided practical advice for someone wanting to travel to Syria to join ISIS.
The material also included 10 copies of the first edition of the online magazine Inspire, published by al-Qaeda, included an article titled 'Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom' which showed how to make a homemade pipe bomb.
Counsell married his wife, Fatima, in May 2012, after meeting her through an Islamic matchmaking service.
Fatima was originally from Somalia and her parents lived in the Netherlands.
Counsell said he did not tell his wife about his plans for the Philippines as she was 'sceptical' about the life he wanted to live.
He claimed his interest in the country was prompted by watching the series 'Lives in the Wild' presented by Ben Fogle, about a man who had moved to the islands.
Police raided his home after a website supplying military equipment tipped them off
The graphic combat videos found on his devices, including one which showed an Al-Qaeda suicide attack on an army base, were part of a 'catalogue of propaganda' which he said he planned to 'tastefully edit' and post online.
Counsell joked in a WhatsApp group conversation with four others on 22 March 2016, the day of the Brussels terrorist attacks: 'I heard in Holland's cafes they're always on high alert.'
But he dismissed his gloating and told the jury: 'We tended to joke about terrorism a lot.
'If someone asks me about terrorism I'm
going to tell them I like a bang in the morning too.'
Counsell claimed he downloaded Dabiq and Inspire - the 'official propaganda magazines' of ISIS and Al-Qaeda respectively - because they showed 'their policy and explicit ideology.'
The married father-of-two added: 'It isn't something that's unofficial, this is an official document that shows their ideology and beliefs.'
He was also asked about five videos he kept on crown green bowling, with titles such as 'Bowling Approaches' and 'Bowling Shot Techniques'.
Counsell said: 'I like bowling, so I wanted to try to learn something.'
Judge Andrew Lees told Counsell: 'In those circumstances together with your ongoing interest in Islamic extremism and researches into Abu Sayyaf and Basilan, and the fact that you had reserved a hotel in Zamboanga City, I am sure you would have gone.
'I am prepared to accept that it may have been difficult and personally dangerous for you to join Abu Sayyaf, but, in my judgment there is no doubt that you were intending to seek out and join Abu Sayyaf and participate in their activities.
'How far you would have got or whether you would have come back without fulfilling your intention is difficult for me to assess.'
Counsell, of Nottingham, was sentenced to eight years in jail for count four of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, and 18 months served concurrently for three counts of possessing a document containing terrorist information.