Mother facing jail for failing to tell police about son's involvement in plot to bomb London

A mother is facing jail after she failed to inform police that her teenage son knew about a terrorist plot to bomb central London.

Nabeela Anjum, 48, a biomedical scientist at St James's Hospital in Leeds, tried to persuade her 15-year-old son to inform on his friend but when he refused she failed to take matters into her own hands.

She was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court of two counts of failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism.

Her son's associate, Al Arfat Hassan, then aged 19, from Enfield, North London, had watched the same ISIS video tutorial used by the Manchester Arena bomber, Salman Abedi, and bought two of the three chemicals needed to make a similar bomb.

He repeatedly looked up the "rewards" for martyrs in paradise and filmed himself holding a machete and two bottles of chemicals, before adjusting his hair and saying: "I need to go out looking nice though. Final moments and that."

Hassan's girlfriend, Tasnia Ahmed, now 21, was found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court last month of failing to inform police and is awaiting sentence.

She repeatedly told Hassan she "loved" his violence and his ultra-strict interpretation of Islam, until getting cold feet and pretending she had cancer, leading him to threaten "carnage" if she left him.

Nabeela Anjum's son Sameer Anjum, who can now be named after a judge lifted an anonymity order, supplied Hassan with the ISIS video which instructed extremists in the West how to manufacture a homemade bomb and demonstrated how to murder a live prisoner with a knife.

Hassan used the stage name Official TS and made drill rap videos which began by revelling in gang violence and eventually ended up glorifying the killings of the Taliban and ISIS.

He gathered 13.6m views and streams on YouTube and Spotify and befriended Sameer, a 15-year-old from Roundhay in Leeds, who promoted his videos on TikTok and began calling himself Young TS.

The pair never met but communicated daily by WhatsApp and Facetime, played the Call Of Duty video game and shared ISIS propaganda videos, talking about their desire for martyrdom and the rewards they expected in paradise.

Hassan and the teenager used a simple code, with the words "cupcake" to mean a bomb and "marketplace" to be the target, and talked about purchasing miniature lightbulbs, which could be used as components for improvised detonators.

Sameer pestered his mother to buy him knives but, when she refused, Hassan sent him £50 and he used her driving licence and a false email address to purchase a hunting knife online which he showed off to his mother, posing masked in front of a black jihadi flag.

On 17 February 2022, Sameer realised that Hassan was planning to go through with his plan to launch an attack in central London and begged his mother for a train ticket to go and try to talk him out of it.

She refused and told him to call the police, but he replied: "Literally ima do everything i possibly can to stop it but i ain't doing what u said. I could jus never ever bring myself to speak to the feds [police] ever."

However, instead of calling police herself, Nabeela Anjum told her son to delete any contacts from his phone, adding: "You won't tell on him to protect him from doing something and I want to protect my son."

Adam Birkby, prosecuting, told the court: "As the adult in the room between these two young men, she should have contacted the police herself and told them of Hassan's plan."

Hassan was caught by chance ten days later when he tried to leave the country for Bangladesh and his phone was seized and downloaded.

Nabeela Anjum's concern was "limited to what might happen to Sameer if Hassan's terrorist act was prevented by her disclosing what she knew to the police," Mr Birkby said.

He added: "She was not concerned about the potential harm which would be caused to members of the public if it succeeded.

"Mrs Anjum put protecting her son against the risk of arrest and prosecution above protecting the public against the risk of Hassan committing an act of terrorist violence."

Sameer, who spent periods off school with anxiety and depression, collected over 140 videos of ISIS propaganda, including graphic videos of the execution of captive soldiers, civilians, and men murdered for being homosexual.

Nabeela Anjum, who also suffered from depression, was said to be a "loving mother" who had an "unorthodox" relationship with her son in which they were more like friends.

She tried to persuade him to break off contact with Hassan after she became aware that Sameer had increasingly radical views and was making threatening videos and posting them on TikTok under the name Masked Mujahid.

Nabeela Anjum initially told him that Islamic fighters were "nothing but murderers in this day and time" but later told him there were "truths" in what ISIS militants were saying.

Abdul Iqbal KC, defending, described Sameer as a "spoiled brat, a fool and an angry, hateful bigot" who downloaded and shared "awful, abhorrent, and disgusting" material.

"Sadly he is manipulative and he misleads people," Mr Iqbal said. "He can deceive others when it suits him. He has tried to mislead his mother and others."

Hassan was jailed earlier this year for possessing chemicals for terrorist purposes and Sameer for sharing the bomb-making video and failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism.

Nabeela Anjum denied the two charges which she was accused of.

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Detective Chief Superintendent James Dunkerley, head of Counter-Terrorism Policing North East said: "This demonstrates how important it is to report serious information to the police.

"You may think that you are helping, and protecting, someone by withholding information but you are not, and it can make things worse.

"We ask that if you are concerned about anyone or you've spotted worrying behaviour then please call the national Police Prevent Advice Line in confidence, and our specially trained officers will listen carefully to your concerns."