In Depth

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury: Madame Tussauds terror plot revealed

Chowdhury was acquitted in 2017 after being arrested outside Buckingham Palace with a samurai sword

A 28-year-old man from Luton has been found guilty of planning a terror attack on tourist hotspots in London, two years after being arrested with a samurai sword outside Buckingham Palace.

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, known as Musa, was convicted of terrorism offences at Woolwich Crown Court yesterday. 

The jury heard how he “planned to kill members of the public at busy London locations including Madame Tussauds, the Pride parade and on an open-top tour bus”, reports The Guardian.

His sister Sneha Chowdhury, 25, was found guilty of failing to disclose information after an undercover police operation bugged her home. Officers pretended to be terrorist sympathisers to lead her brother to speak openly about new terror plans.

In December 2018, Chowdhury was acquitted of terror offences at the Old Bailey. The fried chicken shop worker had been arrested with a metre-long samurai sword outside Buckingham Palace in August 2017. He had driven there after his satnav first directed him to a pub called the Windsor Castle.

At the time, Chowdhury’s defence successfully argued that he was not guilty of terrorism because he had not intended to harm anybody – but had instead hoped he would be killed by police when they saw him with the sword, says the Guardian.

After he was released in 2018, however, Chowdhury attracted the suspicion of counter-terrorism police by posting online about the virtues of martyrdom and writing an insulting message about the police officer who had taken his sword from him in 2017.

Four officers went under cover and discovered that he intended to carry out further attacks. They discussed their own bogus plans in front of Chowdhury at his workplace, leading him eventually to trust them.

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Chowdhury came to believe that “Mikael”, “Hamza” and “Zulf” were sympathetic to his extremist views. He boasted to them that he had intended to kill a “soldier” at Buckingham Palace in 2017 and said he was proud of hoodwinking the jury at the Old Bailey.

The jury at Woolwich Crown Court was told Chowdhury planned to attack the annual Pride parade in London with a vehicle and spoke of attacking Madame Tussauds with knives or a gun. He “prepared for his atrocity by lifting weights, practising stabbing and rehearsing beheading techniques, as well as booking shooting range training and trying to acquire a real gun”, reports the BBC.

The Times says the plan to attack an open-top bus was believed to have been “driven by his contact with Sudesh Amman, 20, who stabbed two people in Streatham, south London, nine days ago and was shot dead by police”. 

The decision was taken to arrest Chowdhury three days before Pride took place last year.

Police also recorded conversations between the Chowdhury siblings after bugging Sneha Chowdhury’s house. They captured audio of Chowdhury teaching his sister how to use a knife. The jury were told markings on his wardrobe indicated knife practice.

Sneha Chowdhury told Woolwich Crown Court the conversations had been light-hearted but was still found guilty of one count of not disclosing information relating to terrorism.

Her brother was found guilty of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, collecting information likely to be useful to someone preparing an act of terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications. He is due to be sentenced on 13 March, while his sister has been bailed while a pre-sentence report is prepared.

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