IS supporter who planned to blow up St Paul's Cathedral jailed

3 July 2020, 12:35

Safiyya Shaikh was jailed at the Old Bailey
Safiyya Shaikh was jailed at the Old Bailey. Picture: Met Police
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Safiyya Shaikh, a Muslim convert from Hayes in west London who planned a terror attack on St Paul's Cathedral, has been jailed for a minimum of 14 years at The Old Bailey.

The Old Bailey was told Shaikh had become increasingly dedicated to martyrdom and saw her profile rise among the fundamentalist community online through extremist propaganda she created.

She even carried out a reconnaissance trip from her home in Hayes, west London, to St Paul's cathedral to scope out the security detail and the prospect of smuggling a bomb inside to commit mass murder.

The plot, she deduced after spending an hour inside the landmark, was "easy" to carry out.

However, she was unaware her online co-conspirator was not a fixer who could help her get the bomb, but an undercover police officer.

Police stormed Shaikh's home in October 2019 after she cancelled plans to meet up with the fixer's wife to discuss how the terror attack would work.

Shaikh was arrested and became distressed when she was told the "brother" who agreed to help her was in fact working for the police.

Sentencing Shaikh to life with a minimum term of 14 years at the Old Bailey on Friday, Mr Justice Sweeney said: "I had already reached the sure conclusion in the original evidence that your claim of doubt to the police and others was a lie.

"Your intention had been - and remained throughout - strong."

Shaikh, who sat in the dock wearing a black hijab with her head bowed, showed little emotion as the sentence was read out.

She smiled and raised her index finger - widely recognised as an Islamic State salute - to members of the press as she was led from court after sentencing.