Woman jailed for plot to bomb three London locations
Richard Smith, head of the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command, is reminding the public to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police, after a woman was jailed for a plot to bomb three busy London locations.
37-year-old Safiyya Shaikh has been sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum term of 14 years for a plot to carry out terrorist attacks at a train station, a hotel and St Paul’s Cathedral and for disseminating terrorist material online.
Shaikh was arrested on 10 October 2019 following a joint Met Police and MI5 investigation in which undercover officers were deployed. She believed one of the officers, with whom she spoke online, would be able to help her obtain explosives and gave another undercover officer two bags, which she hoped would be converted into bombs.
Shaikh told an undercover officer how she planned to leave one of these bombs inside St Paul’s Cathedral and another in a nearby hotel. She talked about setting off the third – in the form of a suicide vest – at a train station.
On 21 February, Shaikh pleaded guilty to one count of preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006, and one count of dissemination of terrorist publications, contrary to Section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
Smith said: "This case is a stark reminder that the threat from terrorism remains as real as ever. As the lockdown restrictions ease and our public spaces start to open up again, it is vital that the public remains vigilant and reports anything suspicious to police - we need your help.
"Shaikh was dedicated to her extremist beliefs. In addition to wanting to carry out her own sickening attack on UK soil, she hoped to inspire others to implement attack plans even after she had died. Thanks to the hard work of officers from both the Met Police and MI5, she is instead in jail. Every day, including during the pandemic, the national counter terrorism police network is continuing to fight terrorism. We’re working with businesses and places of worship to try and keep everyone safe. I urge the public to help us by reporting anything at all suspicious to police."