Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 April 2020

ISIS supporter admits to plotting to bomb London’s St Paul’s Cathedral

Safiyya Amira Shaikh shared terrorist documents among groups using the Telegram app

St Paul's Cathedral, in London, was the alleged target for an ISIS-inspired bomb plot. Reuters
St Paul's Cathedral, in London, was the alleged target for an ISIS-inspired bomb plot. Reuters

An ISIS supporter on Friday pleaded guilty to plotting to bomb London’s historic St Paul’s Cathedral and an unnamed hotel in the capital.

Safiyya Amira Shaikh, 36, of Hayes in Middlesex, went on a reconnaissance trip last year to assess the sites where she intended to plant bombs and provided two undercover officers with bags, believing they were extremists who would help her fill them with explosives.

The woman, who was born Michelle Ramsden, faces a life sentence.

The prosecution alleged that Shaikh, who converted to Islam in 2007, began to follow extremists online and by 2015 had become radicalised. Between August and October 2019, she is alleged to have prepared the words of a pledge of allegiance to ISIS.

During the same period, she shared terrorist documents amongst groups using the encrypted Telegram messaging app.

Although the facts were not opened in court, the case prosecution summary said Shaikh said her main aim was to kill as many people as possible in a suicide attack on the historic site.

"I want to kill a lot," she told the undercover officer, posing as an online explosives expert. "I would like to do church... a day like Christmas or Easter good, kill more.

"I always send threats. But I want to make threats real."

She sent a picture of St Paul's Cathedral to the officer and wrote: "I would like to do this place for sure.

"I would like bomb and shoot 'til death... I really would love to destroy that place and the kaffir [enemies of ISIS] there."

Mr Justice Sweeney at London’s Old Bailey on Friday ordered Shaikh to be remanded in custody until sentencing on May 12.

Updated: February 22, 2020 01:00 AM

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