Delivery driver arrested in Letchworth given life sentence for plot to kill American troops in UK
- Credit: Archant
A 25-year-old delivery driver who was arrested in Letchworth last year has been sentenced to life in jail for plotting to kill American troops in the UK.
Junead Khan – who was working as a driver for pharmaceutical firm Alliance Healthcare when he was arrested at its depot in July – has been convicted of engaging in the preparation of terrorist acts, and was told that he will serve a minimum of 12 years before being eligible for parole when he appeared at Kingston Crown Court on Friday.
The 25-year-old from Luton will also serve a concurrent eight-year sentence for planning to fight for the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh, in Syria.
His uncle Shazib Khan – who lives in the same Luton street, Marlow Avenue, and is two years younger than him – has been jailed for 13 years for planning to join Daesh.
Specialist police detectives arrested the pair on July 14 last year following a joint investigation by MI5 and Met Counter Terrorism Command.
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A disturbing picture of Junead Khan’s terrorist plot emerged when evidence was collected from phones, laptops and documents. He intended to deliberately cause a crash to lure soldiers out of their car, then attack them with knives and potentially detonate a bomb.
In one message, he told a suspected Daesh fighter in Syria how he had missed an opportunity to kill American troops on his rounds as a delivery driver.
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He wrote: “When I saw these US soldiers on road it just looked simple, but I had nothing on me or would’ve got into an accident with them and made them get out the car.”
Junead and Shazib Khan communicated over email, text message and social media about ‘jihad’ training, shared graphic videos and images of soldiers being tortured and killed by Daesh, and sought advice on how to travel to Daesh-controlled territory in Syria.
Junead compiled lists of combat gear he would need there and sent Shazib Khan pictures of himself posing with a flag.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of Met Counter Terrorism Command, said: “Junead Khan’s ambition was to attack an innocent US soldier on our streets. He sought inspiration from terrorist videos, bomb-making guides and contacts in Syria.
“My officers raked through thousands of text messages and computer files to prove his plot and plans to travel to Syria with Shazib Khan, to fight alongside Daesh.
“Working together, the police, its partners and communities can prevent attacks like Junead Khan’s being carried out.
“If you notice suspicious behaviour or are concerned someone you know is being radicalised, please call the confidential Anti-Terrorist hotline or seek advice on the Prevent Tragedies website.”
It had emerged during the trial that Junead Khan had four times rejected offers from Bedfordshire Police to help divert him from radicalism in 2014.
Det Supt Piers Dingermans, from the Eastern Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit, said: “A Prevent Tragedies officer visited Junead Khan on several occasions – however he would not engage so we were unable to pursue any intervention work to tackle his extreme views and radicalisation. Unfortunately those extreme views continued and escalated.
“This case clearly shows the consequences for those who turn down the opportunities to work with police and partner agencies and continue their path into extremism. If Junead Khan had engaged with Prevent we could well have stopped him from becoming fully radicalised and he might not now be facing a lengthy spell behind bars.”