Muslim convert planned UK terror attack after losing passport
Briton Lewis Ludlow sought to mow down pedestrians in one of London’s busiest shopping districts
Muslim convert plotted to kill dozens of people in a crowded shopping district in London after his passport was seized thwarting his plans to travel to the Philippines to join an extremist group and get married.
Lewis Ludlow, 27, had turned up at Heathrow Airport in February last year to fly to the Philippines only to be met by police who turned him back. His passport was revoked the following month and an enraged Ludlow later told an acquaintance that he hoped officers and their children would “die of cancer”.
Ludlow subsequently made a pledge of allegiance to ISIS saying that he felt only “animosity and hate” towards non-Muslims as he prepared plans to kill around 100 people by using a van to ram shoppers on London’s Oxford Street, a London court was told.
“I spit on your citizenship, your passport, you can go to hell with that,” he said in his pledge of allegiance in which he signed off as “The Eagle”.
Ludlow’s attack plan unravelled after police discovered pictures of ISIS executions on seized phones and pieced together his attack strategy from pieces of paper he had ripped up and discarded.
He had also been watched by police as he turned up at an internet café where he printed off the black flag of ISIS - but then forgot it as he left in a hurry, London’s Old Bailey court was told.
He had been put under surveillance after it emerged that he had been in contact via an encrypted messaging service with a foreign fighter in Syria and told him he would look into using his job at a mail sorting depot to send “something lethal” through the post.
His discussions with a Philippines-based extremist via an encrypted messaging were infiltrated by an undercover officer who the pair sought to recruit with his terrorist plot.
Ludlow, from Rochester, 25 miles southeast of London, had been on the radar of authorities for a decade after his former college raised concerns about his religious views.
He was arrested in 2015 after he was identified on videos with senior leaders of the UK’s most notorious extremist organisation but no action was taken against him at the time, the court heard
He was pictured with Anjem Choudary, the former leader of the proscribed extremist group Al Muhajiroun who was released from prison last year after serving a sentence for supporting ISIS.
The government’s deradicalisation programme, Prevent, had been in contact with Ludlow since 2008. He had cancelled appointments or tried to dupe officials that he was engaging with the programme when he was planning a terrorist attack.
One of his meetings was on the same day that he scouted targets around the capital and took photographs on his mobile phone of Oxford Street and waxwork museum Madame Tussauds, another potential target.
Ludlow in August last year admitted plotting an attack in the UK and funding ISIS in the Philippines. He was in court on Thursday for a sentencing hearing that was expected to last up to three days.
Updated: January 3, 2019 09:08 PM