Isis supporter claims he was 'bullied into' Oxford Street terror plot by militant in Philippines

Lewis Ludlow, who is autistic, has admitting planning a terror attack and sending money to terrorists

Lewis Ludlow, 27, admitted preparing acts of terrorism after police prevented him travelling to an Isis stronghold in the Philippines and seized his passport.
He told the Old Bailey that he felt “bitter” and “heartbroken” when his first plan was thwarted, adding: “I felt that I was trapped like an animal unable to escape its cage.”
The Muslim convert, from Rochester in Kent, researched potential targets around London and wrote down plans before his arrest last April.
Ludlow, who called himself the Ghost and Eagle, also recorded a pledge of allegiance to Isis saying he had nothing but “animosity and hatred” towards Britain.
Ludlow said he wanted to travel to the Philippines in February 2018 to find a wife and start a “new life” but kept his plans a secret from a Prevent mentor.
He told the court that after telling an Isis member in the Philippines that he would not be travelling, the man asked him to send money to pay for ammunition and medical supplies.
Ludlow claimed the militant known as “Abu Yaqeen” then talked him into carrying out an attack in the UK targeting a busy shopping centre.
“On this plot, it was a bit like wheeling in very slowly. I thought to myself, I don't think he will try to make me do something stupid like try to harm someone,” he told the court on Friday.
“I was being pressured by him. He bullied me. He questioned me being Muslim and my love of Muslims.”
Later, Yaqeen told him he had to “kill” people during a chat on an encrypted app, he said.
Isis affiliates have been fighting security forces for control of parts of the Philippines  (Reuters)
Ludlow said: “He said to me, 'The reason I asked you to research busy shopping centres is because you need to do something against these kuffar [disbelievers] in the land of the crusader'.
"I said, 'What do you mean'. He said, 'You have to kill them' and then he tried to encourage me to prepare to get involved in an act.
"I said no at first, I did not want to because I felt this was a bit scary and then he said, 'You have to do it. You have to kill them, make them pay in blood, you must get revenge. They are not innocent. They deserve to die'.
"He said the best way to do so was using a ram attack. He said in order to achieve such a spectacular attack we should use a truck bomb attack to achieve the necessary effect.
“He said to me, 'Don't you want to die a martyr? They deserve it'.”
Ludlow said Yaqeen mentioned targets including Oxford Street, St Paul's Cathedral and temples used by Shia Muslims, who are regarded as apostates by Isis.
The defendant claimed he was told to go to London to “scout”, take pictures, make notes and prepare an oath.
He told the court he photographed various potential targets including Madame Tussauds and around Oxford Street.
Ludlow said he wrote notes about killing up to 100 people in a vehicle ramming or using an improvised explosive device to “maximise” casualties.
Asked if he had anywhere in mind, Ludlow responded: “He just said Oxford Street. There was no particular building mentioned.”
Rebecca Trowler QC, defending, asked: “Do you accept at that time you intended that the kind of attack described in these notes would at some point in the future be carried out?”
Ludlow said: “At that particular time yes but there was no date set.”
He claimed Yaqeen was persistent and put pressure on him, so he “went along with it and followed his instructions”.
Ludlow claimed he decided to stop the plot and ripped up his notes because he felt “guilty at what I had done”. 
The defendant, who is autistic, told the court he suffered from anxiety attacks like “whispers from the devil”.
Ludlow said he dropped out of school at 14 because of bullying and converted to Islam at the age of 16.
In mitigation, Rebecca Trowler QC said Ludlow was directed by Abu Yaqeen in the Philippines and his plans were “embryonic”.
The former Royal Mail worker previously pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism in the UK and funding terrorism abroad.
Ludlow was known to security services and police, who had previously arrested him but taken no further action after recovering Isis propaganda on his phone.
Ludlow, who had attended stalls run by members of Anjem Choudary’s al-Muhajiroun Islamist network, was supposedly engaging in the government’s Prevent counter-extremism programme while he mounted the plot. 
He told the court MI5 agents had approached him to become a “spy” and entrap fellow extremists in March 2017.
“I didn't want to be involved in that, ruining their lives. I felt it was wrong,” Ludlow added. "They kept saying they wanted to meet me. They would not leave me alone."
Ludlow had cut off contact with Prevent two years before but resumed meetings with officers in November 2017.
He had 16 meetings and a phone call with officers over six months before his arrest last April.
The defendant said he felt he was ”picked on“ for being a white Islamic convert and felt under pressure by his Prevent mentor.
Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC will conclude the sentencing at a later date.



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