Man, 21, pleads guilty to planning terror attack targeting Christian preacher with firearm in London's Hyde Park

19 May 2023, 11:43 | Updated: 19 May 2023, 11:47

He also admitted researching Hyde Park, where he planned to carry out the attack, collecting money to purchase a gun and travelling to buy it.
He also admitted researching Hyde Park, where he planned to carry out the attack, collecting money to purchase a gun and travelling to buy it. Picture: LBC / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

A 21-year-old terrorist has admitted to planning a gun attack on a key London tourist hotspot in a bid to target a Christian preacher.

Edward Little had been charged with preparing to commit acts of terrorism after he allegedly bought a firearm to kill a Christian preacher and her camera crew at Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park.

Little, from Pelham Street, Brighton, initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, changing his plea to guilty where charges linked to Christian preacher Hatun Tash were concerned.

He also admitted researching Hyde Park, where he planned to carry out the attack, collecting money to purchase a gun and travelling to buy it.

Little was on his way into London in a taxi with thousands of pounds in cash when he was stopped and arrested on September 23 last year.

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Initially pleading not guilty to the charges, Little changed his plea to guilty on Friday when he appeared at the Old Bailey via video link from Belmarsh prison.
Initially pleading not guilty to the charges, Little changed his plea to guilty on Friday when he appeared at the Old Bailey via video link from Belmarsh prison. Picture: LBC / Alamy

It's alleged Little agreed to pay the taxi driver £300 to take him to Lewisham, south London, adding that money was no issue.

He then asked the taxi driver to stop at a mosque to pray, however, chose to do it in the back of the taxi after being told there was no mosque on route.

When arrested, Little was found to be carrying a rucksack with £5,000 in cash, a passport and two mobile phones.

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Appearing via videolink at the Old Bailey from Belmarsh prison, Little wore a grey tracksuit top as he stood, speaking only to confirm his identity.

The prosecution asserts Little researched targets including Christian preacher Hatun Tash, military figures and members of the Metropolitan Police in preparation.

Appearing via videolink at the Old Bailey from Belmarsh prison, Little wore a grey tracksuit top as he stood, speaking only to confirm his identity.
Appearing via videolink at the Old Bailey from Belmarsh prison, Little wore a grey tracksuit top as he stood, speaking only to confirm his identity. Picture: LBC / Alamy

However, Little's defence lawyer, Tom Godfrey, says his client only accepted targeting the preacher.

As part of his preparations, Little is said to have looked up different guns and their capabilities and arranged to buy one for £5,000.

Little declined to answer questions during police interviews, but his mood is said to have visibly changed when he was shown a YouTube view of the preacher.

He is said to have then launched himself across the table at an officer, swinging repeatedly with his fists before being restrained.

He also admitted assaulting the officer at Newbury Police Station last September 28 and was sentenced to 40 weeks in prison.

Little will now be sentenced on 21 July.
Little will now be sentenced on 21 July. Picture: LBC / Alamy

At a previous hearing at the Old Bailey, Judge Richard Marks said Little has an "absolutely shocking previous record".

The defendant had been convicted of 14 offences on seven separate occasions, including for robbery, having a knife and drug dealing, dating back to 2017.

Little was due to stand trial on July 10 for the terrorism offence before pleading guilty at the hearing before Mr Justice Baker.

Little will now be sentenced on 21 July.

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