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A “self-radicalised lone wolf terrorist” who took a bomb to the hospital where he worked trying to “kill as many nurses as possible” has been found guilty of preparing terrorist acts.

Mohammad Farooq, 28, from Leeds, was arrested outside St James’s Hospital in the city with a pressure cooker bomb - designed to be doubly as powerful as those used by the Boston Marathon bombers in 2013.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how Farooq had immersed himself in an “extremist Islamic ideology” and went to the hospital to “seek his own martyrdom” through a “murderous terrorist attack”.

He was stopped by a patient who was outside having a cigarette and managed to talk him down, jurors were told.

Prosecutors said Farooq had originally intended to attack RAF Menwith Hill - a North Yorkshire military base used by the US that had been identified as a target by Isis.

When he thought that was not possible, Farooq then switched to the “softer and less well-protected target” of St James’s Hospital in the early hours of January 20 last year.

The 28-year-old was a clinical support worker at the hospital, and held a “secondary motive” for choosing it: grievances against several of his former colleagues - against whom he had been conducting a “poison pen” campaign, the court heard.

Farooq denied preparing terrorist acts - and defence counsel Gul Nawaz Hussain KC told jurors he was not an extremist but a “troubled man” who was motivated by “deep rooted anger and grievance” towards his colleagues.

On Tuesday, a jury convicted him of the offence after deliberating for fewer than two hours.


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Opening the case to jurors in June, prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford KC had said Farooq’s plan was to detonate the bomb, then kill as many people as possible with knives before using an imitation firearm to incite police to shoot him dead.

Sandiford said “two pieces of good fortune intervened” to stop the planned attack that day.

The first was that a bomb threat he sent in a text to an off-duty nurse in order to lure people to the car park where he was waiting was not seen for almost an hour, and the full-scale evacuation he had hoped for did not happen.

The prosecutor said Farooq left - but returned shortly afterwards with a new plan to wait in a hospital cafe for a staff shift change and detonate his device.

But Sandiford told the court that “luck intervened again” after a hero patient, Nathan Newby, was standing outside the hospital having a cigarette and “noticed the defendant”.

He said: “Newby realised something was amiss and began to talk to him instead of walking away.

“That simple act of kindness almost certainly saved many lives that night because, as the defendant was later to tell the police officers who arrested him, Newby succeeded in ‘talking him down’.”

Sandiford said Farooq told Newby about his grievances towards his colleagues and his plan to take the bomb into the hospital and “kill as many nurses as possible”.

Newby stayed with the defendant and eventually persuaded him to move away from the building, and hand over his phone to call the police.

Officers who arrested Farooq found the “viable” pressure cooker bomb had just under 10kgs of low explosive. He also had, with him or in his car, two knives, black tape and a blank-firing imitation firearm.

An investigation found he had become self-radicalised through accessing extremist material online, and had obtained bomb-making instructions in a magazine published by Al-Qaeda to encourage lone wolf terrorist attacks against the West.

Movements of Farooq’s mobile phone and car showed he made at least two visits to the area of Menwith Hill in the 10 days leading up to his arrest, jurors were told.

Mr Sandiford said the base had been designated as a target by Isis because it was thought to have been used to co-ordinate drone strikes against terrorists.

Farooq admitted firearms offences, possessing an explosive substance with intent and having a document likely to be useful to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism.

Bethan David, head of the CPS Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Farooq is an extremely dangerous individual who amassed a significant amount of practical and theoretical information that enabled him to produce a viable explosive device.

“He then took that homemade explosive device to a hospital where he worked with the intention to cause serious harm. Examination of his electronic devices revealed a hatred towards his colleagues at work and those he considered non-believers.

“It is clear from his internet searches that he was also conducting extensive research of RAF Menwith Hill, with a view to launching a potential attack.

“The extremist views Farooq holds are a threat to our society, and I am pleased the jury found him guilty of his crimes.”

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