A man who admitted planning a terrorist attack in London has been jailed for life by a judge at the Old Bailey.
Edward Little, of Pelham Street, Brighton, pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006, at a previous hearing on 19 May this year.
Today (15/12) The Honourable Mrs Justice McGowan handed down a life sentence, ordering Little to serve a minimum of 24 years before he’s considered for release.
This is the moment our officers arrested a man from Brighton, who was planning a terrorist attack in London.
Today he has been jailed for life following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing South East.
Three others have been jailed for planning to sell him a firearm. pic.twitter.com/moZtCUYXFi
— Counter Terrorism Policing (@TerrorismPolice) December 15, 2023
He will also serve a total of four years’ imprisonment to run concurrently for a charge of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm with intent.
The court heard how Little was only minutes away from buying a firearm, when he was arrested on 23 September 2022 by officers from Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE).
The 22-year-old was intending to use this gun to carry out a terrorist attack at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.
Little had identified a named target for his attack and had also made plans to shoot any police officers and soldiers present in the area at the time.
Little had been communicating with people on a messaging app and had typically expressed violent and extremist views.
As a result of CTPSE’s investigation, it was discovered that he was talking on the app about the attack he was planning discussing the weapons he was intending to buy and identifying his targets.
He was intercepted, arrested and subsequently charged as part of a complex investigation which also saw three members of an organised crime group arrested, charged and jailed for their part in conspiring to sell a firearm to Little.
All were sentenced in November this year for the offence of conspiracy to transfer a firearm – you can read the full story here.
- Reis Forde, aged 27 of HMP Rochester was sentenced to 13 years and six months
- Caleb Wenyeve aged 21 of Bildworth Close in Nottingham was sentenced to 12 years
- Tyler King, aged 21 of Demark Hill, Lewisham was jailed for 10 years and nine months
Head of CTPSE, Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright said:
“Little’s plan to carry out an attack was in the final stages when officers arrested him.
“I have no doubt that lives were saved by the actions of those officers who were deployed to arrest him.
“These officers put themselves in harm’s way on that day in order to protect the public from the threat Little posed, and this is what officers across the Counter Terrorism Policing network and in forces across the UK do each and every day.
“It is clear from the thorough investigation carried out following Little’s arrest that he had the specific intention to carry out an attack to further his belief in an extreme Islamist ideology.
“Together with many partners across law enforcement and beyond, we work tirelessly to prevent and disrupt this sort of abhorrent behaviour.
“In this case, we not only stopped a potentially deadly attack, but also disrupted the work of an organised crime group selling a viable firearm and took that weapon and ammunition off the streets.”
At a previous hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, Little pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer.
This was in connection with an incident where a Counter Terrorism detective from CTPSE, who was interviewing Little following his arrest, was attacked and punched in the face.
He also previously pleaded guilty to a charge of causing Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent, following an incident where a man was assaulted in Belmarsh prison by having boiling water mixed with sugar thrown over him.
DCS Wright continued:
“Our officers work around the clock to keep our communities safe from the threat of terrorism, but we need your help.
We need the public to report anything suspicious, no matter how small, by calling the police or reporting online at gov.uk/ACT
Divisional Commander for Brighton and Hove, Chief Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw of Sussex Police said:
“We are pleased that a dangerous offender has been taken off our streets.
“This investigation demonstrates that we, along with our partners in CTPSE, will stop all forms of toxic ideology and acts of terrorism, which have the potential to divide our communities and threaten the safety of the public.
“We understand incidents such as this occurring locally can be concerning, but Little was stopped and after a thorough and professional investigation, he has been prevented from causing a risk of harm to the public and the community.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who supported this investigation and helped to achieve this conviction.”