Uber driver found not guilty of plotting terror

A man who attacked police with a sword outside Buckingham Palace while repeatedly screaming Allahu Akbar has been found not guilty of preparing acts of terrorism.

Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 27, told jurors his claims to support ISIS were ‘in jest’ and his attack was because he was ‘depressed’ and ‘wanted police to kill him’.

They unanimously acquitted the Uber driver, who lashed out at three officers on August 25 last year.

One of the officers said he had ‘fought for his life’ in the terrifying incident but a jury had failed to reach a verdict in June this year. 

Court drawing of Mohiussunnath Choudhury who was found not guilty of a terror plot

 A police image of the sword used during the incident outside Buckingham Palace

After that trial collapsed, Chowdhury was held at Belmarsh Prison – where he passed the time sketching pictures of an Islamist terrorist gunning down a man outside Number 10.

His latest trial was shown the drawing – in which the attacker is depicted shouting Allahu Akbar as blood sprays on the front door – along with a sketch of a plane hitting the Twin Towers in New York.   

Prosecutors at this trial said Chowdhury had chosen ‘self-radicalisation’ and had scoured the internet for articles linked to Jihadi John and ISIS beheadings.  

He had also sketched a picture of a man shooting at 10 Downing Street 

Today Chowdhury, of Luton, Bedfordshire, bit his lip, raised his eyebrows and then saluted the jurors after they spent 11 hours and 36 minutes considering the verdict.

During the trial at the Old Bailey Chowdhury claimed he was depressed and wanted police to kill him. 

He had repeatedly shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest) while wrestling for control of a four-foot blade at Constitution Hill in central London.

Chowdhury had driven his blue Toyota Prius at a marked police van before officers sprayed him with CS gas when they saw him sat in his car with the deadly weapon.

Officers attended the scene outside of Buckingham Palace in August last year

Dashcam footage shows PC Gavin Hutt walk towards Chowdhury’s car outside of Buckingham Palace

He had been pictured (left and right) buying items before the attack. Chowdhury denied preparing terrorist acts by obtaining a Samurai sword, purchasing a knife sharpener, preparing a suicide note, and driving to the area adjacent to Buckingham Palace

He had set off from his home with the sword and a blade sharpener before swerving in front of the police van at about 8.30pm.

Chowdhury said he had been feeling lonely and depressed and only wanted to get himself killed by brandishing the blade to police officers.

He said he had ‘so many chances’ to get out of his car and kill the officers but chose not to.  

Chowdhury claimed he felt guilty about being a UK citizen since Muslims in Yemen were being killed by British weapons supplied to Saudi Arabia.

In a WhatsApp group chat Chowdhury was asked if his profile picture was an ISIS flag, and he responded: ‘It is an ISIS flag. I support ISIS,’ followed by a laughing emoji. He later told jurors it was all ‘in jest’.

Chowdhury was born in London in May 1991 and later moved to Luton, working as a self-employed Uber driver.

He had previously penned drawings of the Twin Towers being bombed whilst he was in prison

Further social media was revealed showing Chowdhury praising the Westminster Bridge terrorist Khalid Masood and claiming all the non-Muslim victims of the atrocity would go to hell.

Chowdhury urged his family to ‘struggle against the enemies of Allah’ including the Queen and British soldiers in a suicide note left on his sister’s laptop.

Sneha Chowdhury, 24, said her brother was ‘not a trouble-maker, just a practical joker’ whose interests included ‘cartoons, funny stuff and things like memes’.

She said she found it odd when he suggested they watch ‘The State’, a Channel 4 documentary about the rise of ISIS.

Chowdhury had conducted internet searches for beheadings and ‘Prophet Mohammed crimes’ and ‘Mohammed sex slaves’.

Image above shows the wound from the sword which was inflicted on PC Ian Midgley during the incident 

Prosecutor Timothy Cray said Chowdhury planned to die as a martyr, fighting in the name of Allah, in the wake of the terror attacks at Westminster and London Bridge last year.

Chowdhury was driving along the south east side of the road nearest the palace when he saw the marked police van coming the other way from St James’ Park way.

As Chowdhury swerved across the road the officers inside initially thought the driver might be drunk or on drugs, the court heard.

The samurai sword (pictured above) used to attack police outside of Buckingham Palace by Mohiussunnath Chowdhury

PC Ian Midgley and PC Gavin Hutt bravely approached Chowdhury and managed to overpower him and retrive the sword.

PC Hutt said Chowdhury started screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ while wielding the sword.

Investigators found Chowdhury had searched beheadings in Chechnya, Islamic State beheadings and Jihadi John on the internet.

This image was taken on the scene during the incident last year outside of Buckingham Palace

He told the court: ‘I felt lonely and depressed. I told my sister I didn’t want to live anymore.

‘My intention was only to show the sword to a soldier or the police and so get them to shoot me.

A map of the route Chowdhury had taken on the day of the attack outside of Buckingham Palace

‘If I was going to do any acts of terrorism, I could have got out the car with my sword when Mr Gavin was approaching. I had so many chances. I reject the allegations of terrorism.

Chowdhury said he had felt guilty being a citizen of the United Kingdom while Muslims in Yemen were being killed by weapons that the government sold to Saudi Arabia.

‘I came across articles criticising the UK government for selling weapons to Saudi Arabia who were killing these people,’ he explained.

PC Ian Midgley opened the passenger door of a Toyota Prius and reached inside to grab the samurai sword (pictured above)

‘Since I realised we were giving aid to them and at the same time providing the weapons for them to be killed, I thought this was a massive contradiction.

‘I felt depressed and guilty. I felt I was also responsible for the decisions taken by my government while my family were dying.

‘I had to shun these people, and show my disapproval. At the time I did not know how to do it. There was nothing I could do. I just wanted to disassociate myself from my government’s decision.’ 

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