Man found guilty of planning to attack hospital

Mohammad Sohail Farooq has been convicted of preparing for an act of terrorism, contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006, following a three-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Prior to trial, he had already pleaded guilty to possessing an explosive substance with intent to endanger life, firearms offences, and the possession of terrorist material.

Farooq will be sentenced for all offences on a future date, yet to be fixed.

The 28-year-old clinical support worker from Leeds was found in the grounds of St James’s Hospital in the early hours of Friday, January 20, 2023, in possession of an improvised bomb, knives and an imitation firearm.

Farooq was discovered an inpatient at St James’s. 

He engaged with Farooq, who was clearly agitated and very open about his plans to detonate a bomb at the hospital. Despite being on the premises for some time he appeared conflicted and had not yet acted on his intentions. The patient was able to calm Farooq before calling 999 to seek the help of West Yorkshire Police.

The investigation that followed showed Farooq had radicalised himself online. Detectives from Counter Terrorism Policing North East discovered he was self-motivated and heavily inspired by Daesh propaganda. Farooq had procured weapons and successfully manufactured a viable explosive device in readiness for an attack.

He had identified two potential targets for an attack, those being RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire and St James’s Hospital in Leeds. 

He had conducted reconnaissance at the former on three separate occasions, before shifting his focus to St James’s to pursue a long-standing grievance against staff at the hospital.

Head of Investigations for Counter Terrorism Policing North East, Detective Superintendent Paul Greenwood, said: “This trial clearly evidenced Farooq’s intent to act on his beliefs and carry out an attack. He’d researched and prepared for his actions, building an improvised explosive device and prioritising his targets.

He said: “He was primarily motivated by a Daesh-inspired ideology, but also by his own, deep-seated grievances. It was these extreme, personal grievances which ultimately led him to St James’s in January last year."


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