'Lone wolf terrorist' stopped from detonating bomb outside hospital by patient who talked him down, trial hears

An alleged "self-radicalised, lone wolf terrorist" was planning to "kill as many nurses as possible" at a hospital in Leeds but a patient managed to "talk him down", a court heard.

Mohammad Farooq, 28, was arrested with a pressure cooker bomb outside the Gledhow Wing of St James's Hospital in Leeds, in the early hours of 20 January last year.

Prosecutors said Farooq planned to "seek his own martyrdom" in a "murderous terrorist attack" by detonating the bomb, then killing as many people as possible with knives before using an imitation firearm to incite police to shoot him dead.

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Opening the trial, the prosecution said Farooq had immersed himself in an "extremist Islamic ideology" and his "plan A" had been to attack RAF Menwith Hill, which is a base in North Yorkshire used by the US.

But he changed his mind and went with the alternative plan of attacking St James's Hospital, where Farooq was employed as a clinical support worker, the trial heard.

Another motive for Farooq choosing the hospital as a target was his grievance against several of his former colleagues, jurors at Sheffield Crown Court heard.

"Two pieces of good fortune intervened" to stop the attack that day, it was claimed.

The first was that a bomb threat he sent in a text to an off-duty nurse in order to lure people to the car park where he was waiting with the bomb was not seen for almost an hour, and the full-scale evacuation he had hoped for did not happen.

The prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford KC said Farooq left but returned shortly afterwards with a new plan to wait in a hospital cafe for a staff shift change and detonate his device, "killing as many nurses as possible".

But "luck intervened again" because a patient, Nathan Newby, was standing outside the hospital having a cigarette. He "noticed the defendant" and started talking to him.

Mr Sandiford said the defendant told Mr Newby about his plans and the patient responded by keeping him "engaged and calm" and suggesting he moved away from the main entrance to a seating area so the IED was as far away as possible.

Upon being arrested, Farooq told officers Mr Newby had succeeded in "talking him down", according to Mr Sandiford.

An investigation found Farooq had become self-radicalised by accessing extremist material and propaganda online. The defence claims he was not radicalised.

The court heard he had also obtained bomb-making instructions in a magazine published by al Qaeda to encourage lone wolf terrorist attacks against the West.

The court heard Farooq has admitted firearms offences, possessing an explosive substance with intent and having a document likely to be useful to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism.

He denies preparing acts of terrorism. The prosecutor said the defendant admits intending to attack St James's Hospital but denies any intention to attack Menwith Hill.

The trial continues.