POLICE found a T-shirt modified with pockets sewn under the armpits at the Manchester home of a Pakistani student accused of heading an al-Qaeda bomb plot, according to a witness at his trial in New York.
Abid Naseer was arrested in 2009 but never faced charges in the UK. Much of the evidence collected has never been made public.
Naseer, 28, was extradited from Britain in 2013 and faces a life sentence if convicted.
On the second day of his trial in New York, a detective from Greater Manchester Police described searching his home in Manchester.
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Detective Constable Stephen Murphy said a white T-shirt was among the items discovered in a ground-floor bedroom.
“We noticed there were hand-sewn pockets under the armpits,” he said. “They appeared to be sewn on after the manufacture of the T-shirt.”
While there was not enough evidence to bring a case in the UK against Naseer or 11 other men, American prosecutors believe the testimony of two convicted al-Qaeda operatives in the US will convince a jury of Naseer’s guilt, tying him to a plot to bomb the New York subway.
Earlier, Najibullah Zazi had described bombmaking training in Pakistan during which he learned how to pack explosives in plastic bottles that could be carried in pockets sewn to shirts or waistcoat.
Under cross-examination, Mr Murphy said the pockets were about 10 cm in size but not big enough for a 2-litre bottle.
He added that officers found a bag containing wigs in the living room and they took multiple swabs for explosives around the house.
“As far as I’m aware it came back negative,” he said.
The prosecution claims Naseer used email accounts set up in women’s names to communicate with Sohaib, his al-Qaeda handler in Pakistan, using code words of “wedding” and “marriage” to refer to the planned attack and using different women’s names to describe different types of bomb.
In emails presented by the prosecution, Naseer discusses several women, their virtues and prospects for marriage.
On April 3 2009 he said he has set a date for the niqah – a Muslim wedding ceremony - between April 15 and 20.
“I’m delighted they have strong family values and we will have many guests attending the party,” he wrote. “I’m sure Nadia is the right choice for me at this time because I’m getting older day by day. LOL.”
He was arrested five days later.
The emails were sent to Sana_Pakhtana@yahoo.com, an account which was also in contact with an identity used by Zazi, according to the prosecution.
Naseer denies all the charges against him and has said that the emails referred to his forthcoming marriage.
Prosecutors allege that he led a Manchester al-Qaeda cell that was planning to attack a shopping centre, part of a wider plot that also included attacks in New York and Copenhagen.
The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, will include evidence gathered from Osama bin Laden’s home in Pakistan and the testimony of MI5 surveillance officers who have been granted permission to appear in disguise