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Rapping Jihadi found guilty of plotting to 'run amok with sword during lockdown'
12 March 2021, 15:46 | Updated: 12 March 2021, 16:18
A self-styled rapping jihadi has been found guilty of plotting to run amok with an 18in sword during the coronavirus lockdown.
Jobless Sahayb Abu, 27, had bought two blades, balaclavas, a camouflage hat and body armour online in readiness for the terror attack last summer, the Old Bailey heard.
He was arrested on July 9 after discussing guns with an undercover police officer, who he met on a so-called Islamic State (IS) supporters' Telegram chat group.
A jury deliberated for 21 hours and 32 minutes to find him guilty of preparing for terrorist acts by a majority of 11 to one.
His brother, Muhamed Abu, 32, wept as he was cleared of failing to disclose information about a plot to authorities.
He appeared distressed at his sibling's conviction, sobbing: "He's a clown, he's a buffoon."
Following the verdicts, Commander Richard Smith said Sahayb Abu was a "very dangerous individual", despite portraying himself as a clownish aspiring rapper called Masked Menace.
Mr Smith, head of the Met's counter-terrorism command, said: "There is no doubt in my mind that Sahayb had murderous intent, some of that was evidenced from the kind of things that he was posting online and sharing with others, including his brother."
The court heard how some of the defendants' relatives had been linked to extremism in the past.
Mr Smith declined to speculate on whether the Abu brothers were radicalised within the family, online or in jail, but said: "Nobody is born with hatred and intolerance within them."
The court heard how the defendants' half-brothers Wail and Suleyman Aweys went to Syria in 2015, where they are both believed to have died.
Two years later, the defendants were caught with their older half-brother Ahmed Aweys putting up poppy posters in east London saying British tax was used to "kill Muslims".
Sahayb Abu went on to associate with known terrorists while serving a sentence for burglary at Wandsworth prison in south London.
Among them was IS supporter Husnain Rashid, who was jailed for at least 25 years in 2018 for calling for an attack on Prince George.
Sahayb Abu was released from prison on March 20 last year, and went from being "locked up to locked down" as the Covid-19 pandemic struck, jurors heard.
Over the next three months, Sahayb Abu trawled the internet for IS propaganda, including pictures of fighters in balaclavas with guns.
He spent his £400 monthly benefits on two balaclavas, body armour, gloves, a camouflage hat and two blades, including an 18in sword, paying extra to get it sharpened.
He posed in his combat gear in homemade videos sent to Muhamed Abu.
The defendants had no previous terror convictions but had been jailed for the same commercial burglary.
Sahayb Abu, of Dagenham, Essex, had also been caught drug dealing in France and having a knife.
His half-brother Ahmed Aweys, 35, was jailed for 25 months in 2019 for disseminating terrorist material.
His sister Asma Aweys was imprisoned for 19 months for collecting terrorist information, and her partner Abdulaziz Abu Munye received 15 months for dissemination.
Judge Mark Dennis QC remanded Sahayb Abu into custody to be sentenced on April 9.