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Would be right-wing terrorist handed just 4-year sentence for a terror plot

26th Apr 2019
Would be right-wing terrorist handed just 4-year sentence for a terror plot

Would be terrorist Steven Bishop, 41, who has previous convictions including two racially aggravated offenses and violence was handed  4 years in prison for planning a suicide attack (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

Harun Nasrullah

A “dangerous and unpredictable” right-wing extremist who admitted to planning a suicide bomb attack on a place of worship has been sentenced to just four years in prison on April 11.

Steven Bishop, who has previous convictions including two racially aggravated offences and violence, is also a member of the right-wing group Standing for Britain, a group that has an active Twitter page that features Tweets by UKIP founder Nigel Farage and current leader Gerard Batten and gives a justification for the New Zealand mosque terrorist attacks.

The 41-year-old from south London denied preparation of an act of terrorism but admitted an alternative charge of possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or cause damage to property on the first day of his trial at Kingston Crown Court.

The Crown Prosecution Service initially charged him with the preparation of terrorist acts but in a plea deal changed it to an explosives charge, which does not require proof of an ideological motive. He previously admitted a charge of possession of information likely to be useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism. Bishop’s sentence, his charge and the media’s handling of the story has been criticised on social media.

Abdul Hamid Faruki (@TjpAbdul) tweeted ‘White extremist Steven Bishop jailed for 4 years for a plot to bomb a South London mosque. 4 years for terror-related offences? He’ll be out sooner than that.’

‘Unbelievable. Terror charges changed to explosives possession. If this was the other way round, the story would be very different.’ tweeted Suswati Basu.

Basu (@roblewyou) said, ‘Terrorist Steven bishop let off with lesser charge bcos [sic] white’ Adding, ‘Morden Mosque is near me, this guy planned to plant an explosive device, but in exchange for a plea, the terrorism charge has been dropped. How is a planned bombing not terrorism?’

While Paul Middleton (@middletonlord) wrote, ‘Falling short of calling/charging this Terrorist as a terrorist. He is a Terrorist thankfully caught before he acted.’

Jailing him, Judge Peter Lodder QC, said: “The detonation of one or more of these fireworks at Morden mosque may have risked the lives of those nearby.”

Kingston upon Thames Crown Court heard he used viewed extremist material and then researched explosives. ‘Baitul Futuh Mosque’ is said to be his target, on the internet.

Police arrested Bishop after he told his recovery worker that he was planning to build a bomb and blow up ‘Morden Mosque’ in a suicide mission.

Prosecutor Simon Drew said: “He has an obsession with the Manchester bombing and other bombings and his searches for ‘Morden Mosque’ and a variety of other names indicates an anti-Muslim mindset and a wish to take indiscriminate action against Muslims.”

The judge, Peter Lodder QC, said there was “clearly a terrorist context” to the offence. Bishop had purchased a VPN and TOR browser app for his phone on October 21 last year so that he could surf the dark web undetected.

He then searched on the blog section of the TOR website for the word “bomb” and the following day searched online for the Manchester bombing and looked for ‘Saffie Rose memorial.’’

Bishop had been assigned a recovery worker to assist him with his drug and alcohol addiction and, on October 26, 2018, Bishop started showing her an app he had purchased which meant no one could trace his mobile phone.

He then showed her a Wikipedia page about how to make a bomb and told her he was going to build one and blow up a mosque in a suicide mission.

She called the police to whom he confessed that he wanted to get revenge for the Manchester Arena attack.

Police returned to search his address on October 29 and found three multi-shot ‘cake’ fireworks, two of which had been tampered with.

Bishop was arrested, his phone was seized and several pages of notes found in a drawer in his handwriting which included methods for making high explosives and using the dark web.

In a shed at the address, a suitcase was recovered which was found to contain a lightbulb, battery and firework fuse, for use as an improvised detonator.

A remote-controlled firework firing system was delivered to his address on October 31.

The handwritten notes found include a recipe for a high explosive.

“The fireworks with remote control and a couple of the ingredients from the suitcase could have formed a device which could have been detonated,” Drew said.

A YouTube page has videos featuring the fascist leader Oswald Moseley and the anti-Muslim campaigner Tommy Robinson.

 

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