- Barber Farhad Salah was convicted of preparing to commit acts of terrorism
- He was planning to use a remote-controlled car bomb to cause carnage
- Today, he was jailed for 15 years after alleged accomplice was cleared by jury
An Iraqi-Kurdish man who plotted a terror attack in the UK using an bomb in a driverless car has been jailed for 15 years.
Farhad Salah was living a double life, working as a barber in Sheffield as he plotted a terrorist attack in support of Islamic State.
He was said to have teamed up with Andy Star, a former counter-terrorist policeman in Iraq, who was accused of making improvised explosive devices from a makeshift bomb factory above the fish and chip shop he ran in Chesterfield. However, Star was cleared by a jury earlier this month.
Salah was convicted of preparing to commit acts of terrorism earlier this month and Judge Paul Watson QC today sentenced him to 18 years, comprising a 15-year jail term with an extended three-year period on licence.
Judge Watson said Salah had “become wedded to an extremist ideology and was preparing to take action to give effect to those views”.
He said the risk of him causing death or serious injury by his planned use of explosives was obvious.
The judge said Salah’s viewing of “utterly depraved and sickening” extremist footage showed how committed he was.
He said: “Your attitude to extreme violence and loss of life, sometimes in unimaginably horrifying circumstances, indicates clearly to me that you, had you carried your preparations through to conclusion, would have had no hesitation in causing loss of life or the infliction of terrible suffering.”
Prosecutor Anne Whyte QC told jurors during the trial: 'The intention was to manufacture a device which would be placed in a vehicle but controlled remotely so that no-one had to martyr themselves in the process.
'Farhad Salah had decided that improvised explosive devices could be made and used in a way here in the UK that spared his own life, preferably, but harmed others he considered to be infidels.'
Salah viewed a wide variety of extremist material, including a shocking IS propaganda film featuring scenes of torture and murder.
Outlining his plan on social media, Salah wrote about making an 'invention in the field of explosion' and controlling a vehicle 'with laptop and without a driver'.
Following Salah's conviction, Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, the head of the northeast counter terrorism unit, said Salah was a 'dangerous' man.
He added: 'Salah posed a very real risk to the safety of our communities. We're grateful we were able to disrupt his plans before he'd identified an opportunity to see them through.'
Police arrested both Salah and Star in simultaneous raids six days before Christmas 2017, fearing an attack was imminent.
The raids in Sheffield and Chesterfield happened in the months following the Manchester Arena explosion, the terror attacks on Westminster and London Bridge, and at a time when there were fears that another atrocity was being planned for the Christmas period.
But police said they have never been able to identify Salah's intended target.