British Muslim convert scoped out Oxford Street and Madame Tussauds for terrorist attacks
A British-born Muslim convert who plotted the slaughter shoppers outside Oxford Street’s Disney Store said ‘I spit at this country’ in a video he filmed pledging allegiance to ISIS.
Lewis Ludlow, from the upmarket Kent town of Rochester, wanted to launch a ‘ram attack’ after becoming radicalised and attending rallies organised by hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
The 26-year-old former postman tried to travel to the Philippines last year, where ISIS was attempting to establish a new base, after his contact in Syria was killed.
But his passport was removed to stop him travelling, prompting him to begin planning a vehicle attack in London’s busiest shopping street.
Ahead of his sentencing today, the court was played a video in which he said: ‘I pledge allegiance to Islamic State and it’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi… I want nothing from Britain and I spit at this country.’
An investigation revealed he was preparing to drive a van into shoppers on Oxford Street or near tourist hotspot Madame Tussauds.
Prosecutor Mark Dawson told an earlier hearing: ‘This was a plot to cause mass fatalities using a vehicle in Oxford Street targeting among other places the Disney store or pedestrians in and around Oxford Street at its busiest times.
‘In one of his notes he talks of causing upwards of 100 fatalities.’
Ludlow was under surveillance when he was observed at an internet cafe on Portland Street in London’s West End on March 16this year where he researched ‘busy shopping centres.’
The computer at the internet cafe revealed that he had also searched for information about a police station on Oxford Street.
Ludlow admitted charges of preparing acts of terrorism and funding terror and was sentenced today.
On March 21 surveillance teams recovered a number of torn up notes from the bins at Ludlow’s address which suggested that he was actively involved in preparing for a terrorist attack in London using a van.
The notes read: ‘Potential attack sites: Madame Tussads (sic), Oxford street – busiest time between 11 – 12, particularly Fridays – St Paul’s Cathedral.’
He had also listed the addressed for a temples of the rival shia Muslim sect in Forest Gate and Streatham, adding: ‘Further locations scouted for the kil.’
A second note went into detail about his ‘lone wolf’ attack: ‘Crowded London Areas: Oxford Street – long road with no bollards or barriers preventing a van mounting the pavement.
‘Busiest time is between 11am – 12pm with Saturday being the busiest day.
‘Wolf should either use a ram attack or use the truck to maximise death. It is a busy street, it is ideal for an attack. It is expected nearly 100 could be killed in the attack.’
Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC said there was evidence the defendant wanted to recruit a second attacker as he did not have a driver’s licence and was ‘scared’ of crashing.
On April 13 last year, Ludlow’s mobile phone was retrieved from a storm drain and found to have videos of the defendant swearing allegiance to IS and evidence of ‘hostile reconnaissance’.
In a video message Ludlow said his allegiance was to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS and added: ‘May his name strike terror into your hearts.’
He went on: ‘I am the Eagle and I pledge allegiance to Dawlatul Islam [ISIS].
‘I have grew up amongst you filthy [word unclear] I learnt your culture, your ways of life and your disgusting debauchery. I reject all of this.
‘I am amongst you as someone who has given dawah [proselytising] for many years and as one who has studied the deen [religion] of Islam.
‘There is nothing between us except animosity and hatred. We love death as much as you love life so therefore, my allegiance is to Islamic State.
‘I have nothing for this country of Britain. I spit on your citizenship, your passport, you can go to hell with that.
‘So be ready, for we too are waiting. Signed off, The Eagle’.’
The court heard today that, in June 2015, Ludlow had discussed with Hussain doing something before travelling abroad and mentioned his job at Royal Mail.
He wrote: ‘At my job at a Royal Mail warehouse we had a book that mentions how staff look out for suspicious items like bombs.
‘I’m thinking should I find this info out more as Royal Mail rarely check items. It is perfect to send something lethal through.’
Hussain told him it was a ‘good idea’ and Ludlow promised to ‘look into it’.
That year he was arrested and IS material was recovered from Ludlow’s phone but no further action was taken.
Source: Daily Mail