Dagenham man made pro-Isis posts for 'lockdown thrill'

The Central Criminal Court also referred to as the Old Bailey, on Old Bailey, central London. Photo:

Sahayb Abu from Dagenham appeared at the Old Bailey today (March 1). - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

An aspiring rapper accused of plotting a terror attack has told jurors he made pro-Islamic State comments online for a "thrill" in lockdown.

Sahayb Abu, from Dagenham, allegedly bought an 18in sword, knife, body armour, balaclavas and a hat in preparation for a strike last summer.

The 27-year-old also discussed guns with an undercover police officer he met through an Isis supporters' chat group, it is claimed.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey on Monday, March 1, the convicted burglar claimed he had an "epiphany" on release from prison in March last year.

He said he made numerous searches for Isis online for news of his half-brothers Wail and Suleyman Aweys, who are believed to have died in Syria in 2016.

Prosecutor John McGuinness QC said: "You told the police in your interview that the memory of what happened to Suleyman and Wail haunts you to the present day.

"You told police that your view was Isis needed to answer for your brothers."

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Mr Abu agreed he had a grudge against Isis and "would not care" if the terror group was bombed to bits.

He told jurors he was no Mother Teresa or Dalai Lama, and "pro-violence" online posts were just "trolling".

Mr McGuinness said: "How did that fit in with the new man leaving prison?"

Mr Abu said: "This happened during lockdown. Nothing to do. The phone became a kind of portal. Being a troll."

The prosecutor asked Mr Abu about one post on Islam being a religion of "war".

He said: "Bearing in mind the personal tragedy that had befallen your family because of the activities of IS, why post something like that?"

Mr Abu replied: "Because it would bring a thrill to my life. I know it's sad. I know it's pathetic."

Mr McGuinness asked: "You chose to make those words pro-IS. It's IS sentiment.

"Didn't those words choke in your mouth as you were typing? Or the other explanation is these posts represent the way you felt and thought at the time."

Mr Abu, who denies preparing an act of terrorism, replied: "It was just quarantine. I became pathetic. I'm sorry. I apologise."

His brother Muhamed Abu, 32, of Norwood, has pleaded not guilty to failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism.

The trial continues.