St Paul's bomb plotter told friends she 'wasn't having doubts' about attack

2 July 2020, 17:49

Safiyya Shaikh has been put behind bars
Safiyya Shaikh has had her sentencing pushed back. Picture: Met Police

By Kate Buck

A single mum who planned to bomb St Paul’s Cathedral admitted she was fully prepared to go through with her attack - despite her lawyers claiming the opposite.

Safiyya Amira Shaikh, 37, was due to be sentenced today at the Old Bailey today, but proceedings were halted after it was disclosed she had made a phone call in which she said "wasn't having doubts", about the plot contrary to what her defence said.

The call was made last week after Shaikh had apparently read press reports of her mitigation in which defence counsel Ben Newton said his client would not have gone through with the plot and had "cold feet".

The Muslim convert - who changed her named to Michelle Ramsden - was on course to become the UK's first female homegrown suicide bomber before her plans were foiled.

In an excerpt of the call, read to the court on Thursday afternoon, Shaikh was said to have told an acquaintance: "I just feel like this is a lie, like, I be (sic) honest with you, yeah, I didn't get cold feet, yeah, I will say it straight.

"My solicitor - they advised me to do this ... I was ready to go through with it.

"I'm going to be honest with you cos when I read it (the press reports) I just think that I'm just a liar yeah."

She added: "I was going to go through with it, I wasn't getting cold feet, I wasn't having doubts."

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.