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Metropolitan Police/ PA
Metropolitan Police/ PA
Metropolitan Police/ PA
Metropolitan Police/ PA
UK News

Homegrown Muslim-convert to be sentenced over St Paul's Cathedral bomb plot

by Press Association

A single mother who was on course to become the UK's first female homegrown suicide bomber is due to be sentenced over her plot to carry out at a terror attack at St Paul's Cathedral.

Muslim-convert Safiyya Shaikh, 37, said she "hated the UK" and wanted "a lot to die" in an Easter terror attack at the central London landmark.

Shaikh, formerly known as Michelle Ramsden, had become increasingly dedicated to martyrdom and saw her profile rise among the fundamentalist community online through extremist propaganda she created.

She even carried out a reconnaissance trip from her home in Hayes, west London, to St Paul's cathedral to scope out the security detail and the prospect of smuggling a bomb inside to commit mass murder.

The plot, she deduced after spending an hour inside the landmark, was "easy" to carry out.

Elizabeth Cook/ PA
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Cook/ PA

However, she was unaware her online co-conspirator was not a fixer who could help her get the bomb, but an undercover police officer.

Police stormed Shaikh's home in October 2019 after she cancelled plans to meet up with the fixer's wife to discuss how the terror attack would work.

Shaikh was arrested and became distressed when she was told the "brother" who agreed to help her was in fact working for the police.

Shaikh is due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey for preparation of terrorist acts and dissemination of terrorist publications on the internet.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC, opening the sentencing hearing last month, said: "She engaged with others, who she believed to be of a similar mindset, to instigate and plan a terrorist attack involving the use of improvised explosives to attack St Paul's Cathedral and a hotel nearby.

"In furtherance of her attack plan, she visited the cathedral to assess its security arrangement and the best place to detonate a bomb.

"She stated that her intention was to kill herself and as many other people as possible."

The court heard Shaikh had a "truly traumatic childhood" with a "life of pain and loneliness".

She converted to Islam in 2007 after being impressed by the kindness of a local Muslim family, but grew tired with what she considered the "moderate" interpretation of Islam in mosques.

Shaikh's counsel, Ben Newton, said his client was getting "cold feet" over the plot, having already delayed it by several months, and would never have gone through with it.

He said: "She didn't want to blow up a church of people, she just wanted friends."
 

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