Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 August 2019

Terrorist planned to target mosque in UK’s first far-right suicide bomb plot

'Dangerous and unpredictable' Steven Bishop was obsessed with the 2017 Manchester terror attack

Steven Bishop plotted to blow up a UK mosque using a home-made bomb. Metropolitan Police
Steven Bishop plotted to blow up a UK mosque using a home-made bomb. Metropolitan Police

A British man admitted to wanting to become the country's first far-right suicide bomber in a plot to blow up a mosque in revenge for the 2017 Manchester terror attack.

Steven Bishop, 41, was obsessed with the Manchester Arena attack, in which a suicide bomber killed 22 people, and the death of its youngest victim Saffie Roussos, 8.

Using encrypted apps and forums on the dark web, he bought bomb-making equipment and manuals last year.

Similar forums were also used by New Zealand’s Christchurch terrorist prior to his mosque attacks last month which left 50 people dead.

The UK extremist, who is an alcoholic and drug addict from Thornton Heath, south London, was caught after he made chilling remarks about his plans to a support worker.

He confessed to buying an app which would encrypt his phone and said he was going to commit a suicide attack on the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, near his address, using a home-made bomb.

Counter-terrorism police raided his home last October and found a suitcase in a shed containing the materials for an improvised detonator and a recipe for making explosives.

A remote-control firework firing system was delivered to his house after his arrest.

Detectives discovered that just days before his arrest Bishop searched online for articles on the Manchester bombing and for “Saffie Rose memorial”.

He also viewed videos about the Manchester, London Bridge and Paris terrorist attacks.

Bishop then posted on Facebook: "Don't worry something bad is going to happen soon mark my words."

Commander Clarke Jarrett head of the Metropolitan Police's Counter-Terrorism Command said: "From our investigation it was clear Bishop stockpiled a quantity of fireworks and other component parts with the intention of creating a device that he was intending to use to target a mosque.

"Thanks to the diligence of his key worker in alerting us we were able to intervene before he could progress with his plans any further and crucially, nobody came to any harm.

"Given Bishop was focused upon a mosque, and in light of recent events in New Zealand, we also know that Muslim and other faith communities may be feeling particularly concerned and vulnerable.

"Specialist officers continue to provide support and protective security advice to mosques, and indeed all places of worship across the UK on how to best keep their buildings and visitors safe."

Bishop pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial at Kingston Crown Court in London on Monday to possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or cause damage to property.

Earlier, he admitted possessing information likely to be useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism, after a handwritten note on how to make explosives was found at his home.

At an earlier hearing, prosecutors described him as a “dangerous and unpredictable man who has a violent past”.

Judge Peter Lodder QC told him there was “clearly a terrorist context” to the offence. Bishop is to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Updated: April 9, 2019 03:26 PM