A Lancashire man has been sentenced to life in prison for encouraging terror attacks around the world.
Husnain Rashid of Nelson, Lancashire has been sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court, to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 25-years after pleading guilty to a number of offences contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006.
Before Rashid pleaded guilty, the court heard that in the space of 18 months he sent in the region of 300,000 messages and posts on the highly encrypted communication app, Telegram.
The messages and posts included threats against footballers and fans attending the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, instructions on how to poison fruit in supermarkets with cyanide and encouraging attacks on high profile public figures including HRH Prince George.
Rashid, who developed websites for local businesses in Nelson, Lancashire, until he gave up work 5 months before his arrest, denied all charges until the sixth day of his trial at the end of May.
On Wednesday 22 November 2017, when officers raided his home, Rashid ran out the back door of the house to escape police and threw his mobile phone high into the air to avoid being found with it in his possession. It landed over the back wall, right at the feet of an officer who had surrounded the house.
Video: Husnain Rashid arrested
Mobile phones owned by Rashid were found to have text messages on them between him and the ISIS news agency, Amaq.
Although not all the material shared and posted by Rashid has ever been recovered, due to the complex encryption he used, Counter Terrorism Policing North West officers found a draft digital magazine that Rashid had been working on which included a list of destination hotspots for terror attacks, including the Vatican City, a train station in Australia and the Trafford Centre in Manchester.
In one post Rashid suggested an attack at the New York City Halloween parade in 2017. An attack on that event in the city did occur, however investigating officers found no evidence to suggest the attack was a result of Rashid’s post.
Chief Superintendent Will Chatterton from Counter Terrorism Policing North West said: “Rashid was a prolific poster on Telegram, a messaging and media platform which prides itself on never having provided law enforcement agencies with any user data.
“Rashid had spent the past 18 months locked away in a bedroom of his parents’ house where he had made links with known ISIS members and spent hours making online posters and propaganda encouraging would-be terrorists to carry out the most gruesome attacks.
“Rashid was developing his magazine, called Lone Mujahid, which could be described as a sort of e-toolkit for would-be lone-wolf attackers. He is a prolific and dangerous individual.
“He has never been forthcoming with information about all of the attacks that he suggested, but we have worked closely with agencies across the world to share the intelligence that we have.
“We believe that Rashid was days away from travelling to Syria and are in no doubt that he would have continued to encourage others and promote his ideology.
“Today, Rashid has been sentenced to life in prison and will spend at least the next 25 years behind bars. He will no longer be able to spread hate and encourage senseless harm and killing.
“Today the world is just that little bit safer.”