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Prosecuting Terrorism

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Family convicted for planning UK terror attack

26/10/2017

A woman from Birmingham has today (26 October) been convicted of a terrorism offence after paying for a large combat knife for her husband to use in a UK attack.

Training dummyMadihah Taheer also allowed her debit card to be used to buy a plastic knife and a lifelike training dummy so that her husband, Ummariyat Mirza, could practice an attack.

Mirza made her return the first dummy purchased as it was not the model he wanted. He sent her a YouTube video so she would know the right one to buy. The dummy was found in their home with slash marks on the forehead, across the throat and abdomen.

A few weeks before his arrest in March 2017, Mirza bought a cord from an outdoor sports store to which he attached the combat knife. This was so it could be carried over the shoulder and concealed under clothing. He also researched potential targets on his mobile phone including a military base in Birmingham.

In messages from September 2015, pre-dating the offence and before they were married, Taheer wrote: "Can we get married already ffs. I want u to kill ppl for me. I have a list." Mirza replied: "The day of nikkah [marriage] I'll kill em all. Give me the list. The only thing that stops me is we are not married. I will defo I'm not joking."

A month later while discussing the situation in Syria, Mirza said he wanted to stab someone they both knew 27 times. She replied that "sounds so satisfying" and said it was her dream to hurt or kill this person. Mirza responded by sending her a three-second video of him making stabbing motions towards a chair and asked her to buy him a knife.

The prosecution used these exchanges and other evidence to show that Taheer and Mirza were inspired by Daesh and her purchase of the knife was not for an innocent purpose.

Cold steel knife and harnessUmmariyat Mirza pleaded guilty to preparing for terrorist acts at a hearing on 29 September at Woolwich Crown Court.

Mirza's older sister, Zainab Mirza, pleaded guilty on 9 October to sending him terrorist material. This included a Daesh video showing a hostage being beheaded and another being drowned in a fish tank.

All three defendants will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court.

Sue Hemming from the CPS said:

"There can be little doubt that Mirza had the knife so he could carry out a terrorist atrocity in the UK.

"The prosecution's case was that his wife was a willing accomplice who bought the knife knowing what he was planning to do.

"This couple posed a serious threat to the public in Britain and now face the prospect of time in prison where they will no longer be a danger."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Madihah Taheer (dob 01/12/1995) was charged with one count of preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006. Between 12 February 2017 and 30 March 2017, with the intention assisting Ummariyat Mirza to commit acts of terrorism in the UK, engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to that intention, namely by assisting Ummariyat Mirza to purchase a knife.
  2. She married Ummariyat Mirza (dob 04/01/1996) in April 2016. He pleaded guilty to one count of preparation of terrorist acts contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and two counts of collecting or possessing a record of information likely to be useful to a terrorist, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
  3. His sister, Zainab Mirza (dob 03/11/1993) pleaded guilty to five counts of dissemination of a terrorist publication contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006, relating to items she sent to Mirza.
  4. The combat knife cost £121.20, the dummy £275 and the plastic knife £9.60. All were paid for by Madihah Taheer.
  5. Sue Hemming is Head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division in the CPS.
  6. Two images attached. One of the training dummy and one of the knife.
  7. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  8. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233