Sudesh Amman, the 20-year-old responsible for the attack in Streatham, south London, on Sunday, pleaded guilty in November 2018 to six charges of possessing documents containing terrorist information and seven of disseminating terrorist publications.
One of the manuals Amman admitted owning was “Bloody Brazilian Knife Fightin’ Techniques”.
In fact, when he was sentenced the court heard that much of Amman’s fascination with conducting an attack focused on using a knife.
He was jailed at the Old Bailey the following month for three years and four months.
I was there and recall Amman smiling as he was sentenced.
He was released at the end of January 2020, shortly before the Streatham attack.
Amman was first arrested in north London in May 2018 by armed officers on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack.
He had come to the attention of counter-terrorism police in April 2018 when a Dutch blogger made officers aware of postings on the Telegram messaging app.
The posts included a photo showing an image of a knife along with two firearms on a Shahada flag along with Arabic words meaning: ‘Armed and ready April 3’.
The blogger, who focused on exposing online extremism posted, also highlighted his belief that the same person who had posted the image had linked to a YouTube video of a pro-gay rights speaker who frequented ‘Speakers Corner’ in Hyde Park.
The post called on others to “all unite together to attack one another. He will be there this Sunday at Hyde Park”.
Police enquiries showed the user of the relevant Telegram account was Amman and a decision was taken to arrest him.
Amman had elsewhere written of how he was thinking of conducting a terror attack in north London and that he had conducted reconnaissance.
Detectives discovered that the college student had shared an al-Quada magazine in a family Whatsapp group.
The then teenager sent extremist content to his younger siblings and exclaimed “the Islamic State is here to stay”.
The WhatsApp group – entitled La Familia – included images of Amman’s younger siblings in poses reminiscent of IS supporters such as one-finger salutes and wielding weaponry, the court heard.
In messages with one family member Amman suggested that as Yazidi women are slaves the Quran makes it permissible to rape them.
He sent beheadings videos to his girlfriend – whom he said should kill her “kuffar” parents – and told her: “If you can’t make a bomb because family, friends or spies are watching or suspecting you, take a knife, molotov, sound bombs or a car at night and attack the tourists (crusaders), police and soldiers of taghut, or Western Embassies in every country you are in this planet.”
‘Die as martyr’
In messages with her, Amman said he had pledged allegiance to Islamic State and wished to carry out acid attacks.
Elsewhere, he asked if he could have a knife delivered to her address and told her he considered Isis to be the best thing to happen to Islam.
He wrote that he preferred the idea of a knife attack over the use of bombs and discussed whether he would stand his ground if police came to arrest him.
In a notebook – in which he had made notes on explosives and detonators – he had written notes on his “goals in life”. These included: “Die as a shuhada” (martyr) and go to ‘”jannah” (paradise).