Homegrown terrorist who converted to Islam in prison ‘plotted attack on the Queen’s funeral using an AK-47 and Mac-10 submachine gun to send a strong message’ but ran out of time to act, court hears
- Edward Little, 22 considered launching a mass shooting at Queen’s funeral
- Muslim convert decided instead to target a controversial Christian preacher
A homegrown terrorist considered launching a mass gun attack on the Queen’s funeral after converting to Islam in prison, a court heard yesterday.
Edward Little, 22, who converted while serving time in jail as a teenager, identified the funeral as a possible target the day before it was due to be held at Westminster Abbey in September last year.
As a free man, he discussed plans to get hold of a Mac-10 submachine gun and an AK-47 rifle after discussing the plot with other extremists in encrypted chats on a messaging platform.
The British-born Muslim convert told them: ‘I don’t think has been an attack in the UK with guns so a semi-automatic rifle would send an even stronger message.’
But Little decided he was ‘too late’ to act and instead opted to target a controversial Christian preacher – who often debates Islam and the Koran – at Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park.
British-born Islam convert Edward Little planned to target the Queen’s funeral, a court heard
Little considered a mass gun attack and planned to get hold of a submachine gun the day before service was due to held at Westminster Abbey last September (Court sketch of Little appearing at the Old Bailey last October)
But he decided he was ‘too late’ to act during the national event and decided instead to target a controversial Christian preacher at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park
Days later, Little was arrested on his way to buy a £5,000 gun for the attack, having taken a taxi from Brighton to London last September.
In custody, he attacked a detective and poured boiling water mixed with sugar over an inmate at Belmarsh Prison.
Yesterday the Old Bailey heard Little had converted to Islam as a teenager while serving sentences for robbery and drugs offences at Cookham Wood Young Offender Institution in Kent and, after he turned 18, at HMP Deerbolt in County Durham.
It heard his intended victim in Hyde Park, preacher Hatun Tash, is a former Muslim and convert to Christianity, who has faced threats to her life on multiple occasions.
Prosecutor Duncan Penny, KC, said: ‘The defendant planned to murder those who were with Hatun Tash, and any police officers or soldiers who were in the area.
‘He conducted research into firearms, the location of the planned attack, Hatun Tash herself, secured and digested terrorist publications, sought assistance from other Islamic extremists, secured money to fund his attack and made careful arrangements to purchase a firearm.’
In his chats on Threema messaging platform, Little referred to his intended victim as an ‘evil witch’ and said he could shoot her ‘point blank’ and ‘everyone with her’.
He downloaded extremist Islamic material including copies of the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire and used the encrypted messaging app to discuss his plans with others, telling one user that he had £15,000 and was ‘arranging for a handgun and 70 bullets in the next few days then after that trying to get the larger weapons’.
He also said he needed a video recording of the attack so it could be claimed by Al Qaeda afterwards.
At a previous hearing Little, of Pelham Street, Brighton, admitted preparing to commit an act of terrorism and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He already had 14 convictions for robbery, having a knife and drug dealing dating back to 2017.
He will be sentenced at a later date.