Barking convict Khalid Baqa arrested after international flight diversion was wanted for £175 fraud
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A Barking man arrested after a flight accompanied by a RAF fighter escort was diverted was wanted for a £175 fraud, a court heard.
Khalid Baqa, 52, of Priory Road, Barking, was detained after Pakistan International Airlines flight from Lahore was redirected to Stansted from Heathrow in February.
Stansted is the designated airport for dealing with hijacks and major security alerts.
Photos on Twitter had shown several fire engines and a number of ambulances waiting on the ground at the airport for the plane to arrive, after it was diverted due to a mid-air incident.
An airline spokesman at the time said UK authorities had “received some vague security threat through an anonymous phone call”.
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Baqa, a former revenue officer at Hackney Borough Council, was jailed for two years in 2013 for possessing computer discs of terrorist material with the intention of distributing them.
However, Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court heard that unemployed Baqa was wanted for failing to tell motoring insurer Liverpool Victoria that he had received three penalty points in June 2015 for running a red light when later renewing his car insurance.
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The trial did not reveal whether the flight diversion was linked to Baqa.
He was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £115 in costs and victim surcharge after being convicted of fraud by failure to disclose information yesterday.
Baqa was pulled over on the school run after going through the red light and was fined by Stratford magistrates in June 2015 for not wearing a seatbelt or ensuring his daughter was wearing one in the back of the Renault Modus.
He denied knowing about the points when it came to renewing his car insurance as it was not mentioned on a court letter he received.
However, district judge Paul Booty said he would have known at the earlier court hearing he had received points as well as a fine.
He told the defendant: “What you have tried to do today is put forward a smokescreen.
“I don’t accept that evidence. Therefore you are guilty of the offence.”
Additional reporting by Press Association.