- Sudanese asylum seeker Munir Mohammed volunteered for 'lone wolf' mission
- He had been chatting on Facebook with a man he believed was ISIS commander
- Got help of pharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan, drawing on her chemical knowledge
- Couple both denied preparing terrorist acts but were found guilty at Old Bailey
Sudanese asylum seeker Munir Mohammed volunteered for a 'lone wolf' UK mission as he chatted on Facebook with a man he believed was an Islamic State commander.
He enlisted the help of pharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan, drawing on her knowledge of chemicals needed to make a bomb after seeking her out on SingleMuslim.com.
At the time of his arrest last December, Mohammed had two of the three components for TATP explosives as well as manuals on how to make explosives, mobile phone detonators, and deadly ricin poison.
In the days before his arrest, Mohammed was captured on in-store CCTV buying 'acetone free' nail polish from Asda, in the mistaken belief it was a chemical component of TATP.
Sudanese asylum seeker Munir Mohammed (left) enlisted the help of pharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan (right), drawing on her knowledge of chemicals needed to make a bomb
Mohammed, 36, of Derby, and El-Hassan, 33, of Brondesbury, North West London, denied preparing terrorist acts between November 2015 and December 2016.
But following an Old Bailey trial, a jury found the pair guilty of the plot.
Judge Michael Topolski QC remanded the pair in custody and warned them they faced jail when they are sentenced on February 22.
Mohammed arrived in Britain in the back of a lorry and claimed asylum in February 2014, the court heard.
After being left hanging for more than two years, he appealed to Derby MP Margaret Beckett for help with his immigration problems.
The long-serving Labour MP was informed by authorities that his case was 'not straightforward' and had been referred to a 'specialist unit for consideration'.
Meanwhile, Mohammed was working at a Kerry Foods in Derby making sauces for supermarket ready meals and wooing a potential British bride he met online.
The prosecution claimed he was drawn to University College London graduate El-Hassan because she referred to having a Masters degree in pharmacy in her dating profile.
She wrote that she was 'looking for a simple, very simple, honest and straightforward man who fears Allah' who she could 'vibe with on a spiritual and intellectual level'.
Jurors were told the pair had a 'rapidly formed emotional attachment and a shared ideology' and by the spring of 2016 were in regular contact on WhatsApp and had met more than once in a London park near El-Hassan's home.
As well as arguments, jokes and every-day concerns, they also shared extremist views and videos.
Prosecutor Anne Whyte QC said Mohammed 'resolved upon a lone wolf attack' and El-Hassan was well aware of his plan.
In August last year, Mohammed was put in touch via Facebook with a man he believed was an IS commander, known as Abubakr Kurdi.
He pledged allegiance to Kurdi and offered to participate in 'a new job in the UK', said to mean an act of terrorism, jurors heard.
In September last year, Mohammed complained he had not received his instructions, saying in coded language: 'If possible send how we make dough (explosives) for Syrian bread (a bomb) and other types of food.'
Mother-of-two El-Hassan advised fellow divorcee Mohammed on what chemicals to buy for a bomb, jurors were told.
In November last year, Mohammed got hold of a video containing information on how to manufacture ricin, the court heard.
In the days before his arrest, Mohammed looked at pressure cookers at Ace Discounts, which the prosecution said could be used to contain the explosives.
When police raided his home on December 12 last year, they found hydrogen peroxide in a wardrobe and hydrochloric acid in the freezer.
Mohammed denied the chemicals were for a bomb, claiming the hydrochloric acid was to clean the alloys on his car and the peroxide was to treat a burn.
He told jurors he sent El-Hassan extremist videos 'mainly for the news' and claimed his intention was 'to marry her'.
However, the court also heard he had an arranged marriage in Sudan with a woman he had never met called Fatima who he was hoping to bring to England on a student visa.
Hydrogen peroxide found in Mohammed's home address (left), and One Shot Drain Cleaner found at the home of El Hassan (right)
El-Hassan, who came to Britain from Sudan at the age of three, told jurors she had sulphuric acid for her drains and got face masks to wear as she dealt with a damp problem in her flat.
Asked if she had feelings for Mohammed, she said: 'It was mixed feelings at the time. Yes, there was emotional attachment.
'There were feelings developing and we were getting to know each other. I was grateful for things he helped me with. And he was grateful for things I helped him with. I liked the attention he was giving me.'
Following the verdicts, Judge Topolski said: 'Munir Mohammed, you have been convicted of planning a potentially devastating terrorist attack by creating an explosive device and deploying it somewhere in the UK targeting those you regarded as enemies of the Islamic State.
'Rowaida El-Hassan, you share the extremist mindset with Munir Mohammed and you were ideologically motivated to provide him with support, motivation and assistance.
'You knew he was engaging and planning an attack. You knew he was planning an explosion to kill and maim innocent people in the cause of Islamic State.'
Mohammed was unanimously convicted and his co-accused by a majority of 10 to one jurors.
It's difficult to know whether El-Hassan was an extremist before meeting Mohammed, say police
Rowaida El-Hassan (pictured) and Mohammed were 'looking for a relationship but... in each other found a shared ideology'
It is 'difficult to say' whether Rowaida El-Hassan was an extremist before she met Munir Mohammed on a dating site or whether she was radicalised through their romance, anti-terror police have said.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Greenwood, who led the investigation into the pair, said he believes they met because they were genuinely looking for a relationship but El-Hassan could have been in no doubt about Mohammed's extreme ideology.
He said: 'I guess from her perspective, she was a single mother and a Muslim looking for a partner.
'So I guess in that sense it's a normal place to look for a relationship.
'I think both El-Hassan and Munir were looking for a relationship but, on that website, in each other found a shared ideology and together became even more dangerous.
Because that little bit of knowledge he lacked around chemicals, she had, being a very bright and qualified pharmacist.
The kitchen in the home of El-Hassan, who lived in Brondesbury, North West London, is pictured
'So she was able to give practical advice on where to source the specific chemicals he needed in order to manufacture the explosive TATP.'
Asked whether El-Hassan was radicalised by Mohammed, Mr Greenwood said: 'It's difficult to say, again, because she hadn't previously come to our attention.
'All that I can say is that Munir shared with her some really graphic and brutal execution videos, lots of other ideological material, including children executing Isis prisoners and children involved in military training in the name of the Islamic State.
'And she appeared to be very receptive to that and they seemed to encourage each other with their shared mindsets. She could have been in no doubt as to Munir's mindset because he made it plain to her.'
The lounge at El-Hassan's home is pictured. Asked whether El-Hassan was radicalised by Mohammed, anti-terror police said: 'It's difficult to say'
And asked whether they had a genuine romance, the detective said: 'They definitely did have a romantic relationship or a relationship of sorts. So, to what degree or to what strength of feeling, I don't know.
'But it's certainly possible and couldn't be ruled out they had a relationship as part of what they were both involved with together.
'But that doesn't take away from the fact that, irrespective of whether she was influenced by him, she knew fully his mindset and contributed to a set of circumstances that, had we not intervened, could have resulted in significant loss of life in the UK in the lead-up to Christmas 2016.'
Munir Mohammed is an 'extremely dangerous terrorist', warns police chief
A police chief said officers do not believe Munir Mohammed had selected a definite target but was trying to get orders from ISIS
Munir Mohammed is an 'extremely dangerous terrorist' who was preparing a pre-Christmas attack which would 'almost certainly' have resulted in death and injury, according to anti-terror police.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Greenwood, who led the investigation, said officers do not believe Mohammed had selected a definite target but was trying to get orders from Islamic State.
Mr Greenwood said: 'Mohammed is an extremely dangerous terrorist.
'Had he not been arrested when he was - which was on December 12, 2016, at a time when he'd already started to acquire chemicals, already started to look at pressure cookers, on the delivery mechanism for an attack and was already in conversation with Islamic States operatives - I think he was very close to mounting some sort of attack.
'And that could well have occurred before Christmas 2016 and I think that attack would have involved the loss of life and multiple injuries had Mohammed had his way.'
Mr Greenwood said: 'We're fairly confident that, at the time of arrest, he was well-on with a plan to conduct a terrorist attack in the UK that would almost certainly have resulted in the loss of life and that would probably have been an explosive attack.'
Mohammed, whose bedroom is pictured abopve, was preparing a pre-Christmas attack which would 'almost certainly' have resulted in death and injury, according to anti-terror police
He said: 'I don't think that he had a target at the time of arrest. He'd started to acquire the chemicals and was watching the instructional videos to manufacture TATP.
'So he was acquiring the knowledge and operational capability to conduct an attack but at the same time he was trying to get direct tasking from the Islamic State, he was reaching out on the internet.'
Mr Greenwood said Mohammed was in contact with a key Islamic State commander looking for 'tasking'.
He said: 'I think had that tasking not been forthcoming he would probably have picked a target himself. But he was really keen to act in the name of the Islamic State to be tasked by them and conducting an attack in their name.'
He said: 'This investigation very much typifies the modern threat that we face - a very radical Islamic extremist who's looking on the internet to feed that extremism.
'And he found multiple execution videos, rhetoric of the Islamic State that fed that extremism.
That moved on to him seeking instructional videos of how to carry out an attack and then led on, once again, from actually reaching out to speak to members of the Islamic State to act in their name.'