Muslim convert Richard Dart declared “judging is only for Allah” and refused to stand in the dock as he was jailed for six years for terrorism yesterday.
The son of Dorset teachers was sentenced at the Old Bailey with Jahangir Alom and Imran Mahmood for engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism. The trio had admitted the offence, which took place between July 2010 and July last year, at a hearing last month.
Mr Justice Simon said the three held “radical Islamist beliefs” and showed they were “committed to acts of terrorism”.
Dart, 30, of Ealing, west London, was jailed for six years; Mahmood, 22, from Northolt, west London for nine years and nine months, and Alom, 26, of Stratford, east London, for four years and six months.
Mahmood and Dart were both given extended sentences, meaning that they will serve two-thirds of their prison terms rather than half before being eligible to apply for parole, and they will spend five years on licence when they are released.
Dart refused to stand up when he was sentenced, saying: “I don’t wish to stand up, I believe ruling and judging is only for Allah.”
Dart’s beliefs were brought into the spotlight in 2011 as part of a television documentary My Brother The Islamist, featuring his stepbrother, Robb Leech.
The judge yesterday told Dart and Mahmood: “I’m satisfied to the required criminal standard that neither of you had ruled out an attack in the UK, and that you, Mahmood, were looking at arming yourself with a bomb.”
Dart and Alom travelled to Pakistan to try to get terrorist training, and took advice from Mahmood, who had already visited the country.
Dart discussed bomb making with Mahmood, and spoke of Royal Wootton Bassett – the town which formerly received the bodies of UK troops killed abroad – as a potential target.
Police discovered fragments of text on Dart’s laptop that revealed that the pair had used the computer to have a “silent conversation” to avoid possible surveillance bugs.
They would open a Word document and take it in turns to type, before deleting the text, assuming none of it would be stored on the machine.
However, experts were able to decipher fragments of what was said. These included Mahmood making a reference to Wootton Bassett, adding: “If it comes down to it, it’s that or even just to deal with a few MI5 MI6 heads.”
Counter-terrorism teams also believe that the pair used the same tactic walking down the street with a mobile phone.
Dart and Mahmood were both born in the UK. Alom was born in Bangladesh but is a British citizen.
The three had all been stopped at airports while travelling to and from Pakistan.
When Mahmood was stopped at Manchester Airport in 2010, traces of explosives were found on two rucksacks he had with him. He later admitted he had received rudimentary training in explosives while in Pakistan.
Dart became involved in extremism after moving from his home town of Weymouth to east London and meeting radical preacher Anjem Choudary.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, of the Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism command, said: “This case serves as a classic example of how terrorists live in our midst while preparing their acts.”