Muslim convert from BBC documentary pleads guilty to terrorism charges


Richard Dart, who has changed his name to Salahuddin al Britani, featured in a BBC documentary filmed by his step-brother. Image:
A Muslim convert who featured in a BBC3 documentary in 2011 about Islamism has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges at the Old Bailey.

Richard Dart, 29, admitted plotting a terror attack in Royal Wootton Bassett and planning to target members of the security services including "M15 or M16 heads" after being trained at terrorism camps in Pakistan.

Imran Mahmood and former police community support officer (PCSO) Jahangir Alom also admitted preparing for terrorism or assisting another in terrorism, between July 2010 and July 2012.

As well as receiving terror training over two years, the gang gave information to other radicals about travelling to Pakistan.

Dart, who converted to Islam after being radicalised by British Islamist Anjem Choudary, was arrested after police seized computers from his home in Ealing, west London, after a surveillance operation.

Evidence showed the men discussed targeting Royal Wootton Bassett, the Wiltshire town where mourners paid their respects to British troops killed in Afghanistan from 2007 until September 2011.

Dart, who has changed his name to Salahuddin al Britani, featured in a BBC documentary filmed by his stepbrother about his conversion.

In the film, Dart, the son of Dorset teachers, was said to have developed extremist views in the months after joining the Muslims Against Crusades group.

At an earlier hearing in the magistrates court, Mark Topping, prosecuting, said the trio travelled to Pakistan "for the purpose of being instructed in terrorism techniques and thereafter to deploy these techniques, either in Pakistan or elsewhere".

Upon Mahmood's return police found traces of explosives in his rucksack.

Topping said: "The samples taken by officers produced varying traces of nitroglycerin, traces of RDX explosive and in another place was found PETN, a highly explosive component."

He said the trio would communicate as if they were "deaf and dumb" and type messages to each other on mobile phones or computers for the others to read while standing next to them, then delete them so their conversations would remain secret.

However police were able to recover fragments of discussions on Dart's computer as the evidence mounted against them.

Topping added: "There is a discussion about Wootton Bassett and locations: 'Yes, yes, Wootton Bassett, if not that then all combatants. If it comes down to this, it is that or even to just deal with a few MI5 or MI6 heads.' The crown says that is a discussion about targeting."

Alom was arrested in July with his new wife Ruksana Begum, whose family has extensive links to terrorism.

In December she was jailed for a year at the Old Bailey for having al-Qaida terrorist material in her mobile phone.

The link between them could not be made until Friday when a court order was lifted.

Begum, 22, who has a first-class accountancy degree, had been married for a month when anti-terrorism officers raided their home.

The court heard that Begum's brothers, Gurukanth Desai and Abdul Miah, admitted plotting to blow up the Stock Exchange and were sentenced last month to 12 and 16 years in jail respectively.

Grace Productions, which made the BBC3 documentary, was unavailible for comment.

The trio will be sentenced at the end of April after a judge adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports.


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