24-year-old Mohammed Chowdhury has been convicted of terrorism offences following an investigation by the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command.
Chowdhury from Bethnal Green was arrested after handing over £300 in exchange for an explosive device on February 5 last year. The weapons dealer was in fact an undercover police officer.
During the trial, the Old Bailey heard the likely target for his grenade attack was Bethnal Green police station.
While he was on remand, he told his mum on the phone: “I don’t care about the judge or the police and that. I wanted to hurt one of them, innit. I was getting annoyed.
“If I would have got that, I would have chucked it at the station, innit, I don’t care.”
Chowdhury explained he wanted to “do something serious like on the TV”.
He also said: “That’s why I got that thing because I wanted to chuck it in the station place because I’m getting so (angry), innit.”
The court was told the attempt to buy a hand grenade followed a brush with the law the year before.
On November 19 2019, Chowdhury was pushed from behind by a man outside Stepney Green Station.
He ran off, only to return armed with a short-handled axe in his hand tied to his body by a length of cord. Chowdhury brandished the axe, waving it around at a second man who ran off. He was convicted of having a bladed article in a public place.
Following his arrest for trying to buy hand grenade, officers attended Chowdhury’s address and seized a number of digital devices. They found evidence that Chowdhury had downloaded and viewed a number of documents containing recipes for making explosive substances and information on how to create explosive devices.
There were also a number of hand-written notes found in Chowdhury’s address, which included details of chemicals and explosives and diagrams copied from the manuals he had downloaded onto his phone.
Chowdhury pleaded guilty in November to four counts of possessing documents likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, under section 58 of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2000.
He was also found guilty today, 10 February, of attempting to possess an explosive with intent to endanger life or property, contrary to section 3 of the Explosives Substance Act, 1883.
He is due to be sentenced on 23 March.
Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said: “Chowdhury downloaded a number of extremely concerning documents and manuals, containing details of how to create and deploy explosives and lethal weapons. What’s more, he then made very serious attempts at trying to get hold of a hand grenade.
“These are extremely serious offences and the public are undoubtedly safer following this investigation and outcome.
“This case is a reminder to everyone that the threat from terrorism remains and I want to remind the public that their continued vigilance and support is needed. I would urge anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious to contact police, no matter how small or insignificant they think it may be – it is better to let us know so that we can take a look and take any action as appropriate.”
If you see or hear anything suspicious, then ACT and report it to us confidentially via gov.uk/ACT or by calling 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always dial 999.