Jailed: ‘Extremely dangerous’ Dagenham man who plotted terrorist attack

Sahayb Aweys Munye Abu, 27, who was jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 19 years, at the Old Bailey

Sahayb Aweys Munye Abu, 27, was jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 19 years, at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, April 13. - Credit: Met

A Dagenham man has been jailed for at least 19 years after plotting a terrorist attack with a large sword.

Sahayb Aweys Munye Abu, 27, ordered weapons, equipment and clothing online in preparation for an attack, while visiting websites with Daesh material and sharing his extremist views with people online over several months.

Sahayb Abu wearing a hat with face and neck covering that he bought online.

Sahayb Abu wearing a hat with face and neck covering that he bought online. - Credit: Met Police

However, Abu was being investigated by MI5 and police. He was arrested on July 9 last year after he ordered a large sword online that he was planning to use in his attack.

Abu was found guilty of preparation of terrorist acts by an 11-1 majority verdict after a trial at the Old Bailey on March 12.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 19 years, at the same court today (Tuesday, April 13).

Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met's counter terrorism command, said: “Over several months, Abu sought to obtain weapons and the equipment needed to commit a terrorist attack.

“He is an extremely dangerous individual but thanks to the efforts of counter-terrorism officers and MI5, he will now spend a considerable time behind bars where he poses no risk to public safety."

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The police investigation started in March last year after concerns were raised about Abu’s extremist mindset.

Over several weeks in May and June, Abu made enquiries about and purchased items including a lock knife, ballistic vest, two balaclavas, fingerless gloves, a camo-print fisherman’s hat with face and neck cover, and a large sword - which he asked to be sharpened.

Clothing bought online by Sahayb Abu.

Clothing bought online by Sahayb Abu. - Credit: Met Police

During the investigation, an undercover officer met and befriended Abu online.

They met in person twice and Abu spoke to the officer about obtaining firearms.

After his arrest, officers found dozens of messages on his electronic devices, including video and voice messages, in which Abu recited lyrics which reflected his extremist views.

Screengrab from a home video made by Sahayb Abu

Screengrab issued by police from a home video made by Sahayb Abu. - Credit: PA

In one song, he refers to himself as a “ISIS supporter” and discussed using a suicide vest.

On the day of his arrest, he had posted a message in a chat group saying "we need a 9/11 2.0" - referring to the terrorist attack in the United States on September 11, 2001.

His internet search and browsing history also showed he visited websites about Daesh, and accessed and downloaded Daesh propaganda and other extremist content.

When interviewed by police, Abu said the items he had purchased were for display purposes and for use in parody drill music videos.

Sentencing Abu, judge Mark Dennis QC told him: "You were getting ready to carry out your own act of violence on the streets of this city.

“To this date you have yet to express any remorse for your actions.”

The judge said he was satisfied that Abu had everything he needed for a “lone wolf” attack and would have carried it out but for the intervention of police.

He added: “All that remained for him to decide was the time and place for him to carry out the act of violence in furtherance of the cause he supported.”

Judge Dennis also commended the work of the undercover officer known as Rachid whose evidence helped convict the defendant.

Commander Smith said: “The recent easing of coronavirus restrictions means that people will start going out more in public - to see family and friends, to shop and to visit places.

“The threat from terrorism has not gone away and we would urge people to remain vigilant and act if they see anything suspicious by reporting it to the police.

"You won’t be wasting police time. The public has a key role to play in helping the police tackle terrorism and save lives.”

If you see or hear something suspicious, trust your instincts and report it to the police. In an emergency, always call 999. You can also visit www.gov.uk/ACT to report your concerns online, in confidence.