Lone Wolf Wanted To Kill As Many Nurses As Possible

Lone Wolf Wanted To Kill As Many Nurses As Possible

"Lone Wolf Terrorist" Guilty of Preparing Hospital Bomb Attack

Leeds, UK - Mohammad Farooq, a 28-year-old hospital worker, has been found guilty of preparing terrorist acts after bringing a bomb to St James’s Hospital in Leeds with the intent to "kill as many nurses as possible." Farooq, described as a "self-radicalised lone wolf terrorist," was arrested outside the hospital with a pressure cooker bomb designed to be twice as powerful as those used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Radicalization and Attack Plan

Sheffield Crown Court heard that Farooq had immersed himself in extremist Islamic ideology and sought "martyrdom" through a "murderous terrorist attack." Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford KC told jurors that Farooq originally intended to attack RAF Menwith Hill, a North Yorkshire military base used by the United States and identified as a target by Islamic State. When that plan seemed unfeasible, he switched to the "softer and less well-protected target" of St James’s Hospital.

Farooq, a clinical support worker at the hospital, had a secondary motive rooted in grievances against several colleagues, with whom he had conducted a poison pen campaign.

Intervention and Arrest

On January 20, 2023, Farooq's attack was thwarted by a patient, Nathan Newby, who was outside the hospital smoking a cigarette. Realizing something was amiss, Newby engaged Farooq in conversation and managed to "talk him down," preventing the attack. Farooq admitted to Newby his plan to detonate the bomb and kill nurses, but Newby persuaded him to move away from the building and hand over his phone to call the police.

When officers arrested Farooq, they found a viable pressure cooker bomb containing just under 10 kilograms of low explosive, two knives, black tape, and a blank firing, imitation firearm in his possession.

Legal Proceedings

Farooq denied preparing terrorist acts, with his defense counsel, Gul Nawaz Hussain KC, arguing that Farooq was not an extremist but a "troubled man" motivated by "deep-rooted anger and grievance" towards his colleagues. Despite this, the jury took less than two hours to convict him.

Prosecutor Sandiford explained that Farooq had planned to detonate the bomb and then kill as many people as possible with knives before provoking the police to shoot him by using an imitation firearm. Fortunately, Farooq's initial bomb threat sent via text to an off-duty nurse was not seen in time, preventing the evacuation he had hoped for.

Extremist Influence and Online Radicalization

An investigation revealed that Farooq had self-radicalized through extremist material online, obtaining bomb-making instructions from an Al Qaeda magazine that encouraged lone wolf attacks against the West. Movements of his mobile phone and car indicated that he had made at least two visits to RAF Menwith Hill in the days leading up to his arrest.

Farooq admitted to firearms offences, possessing an explosive substance with intent, and having a document likely to be useful to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism.

Official Statements

Bethan David, head of the CPS Counter Terrorism Division, stated: “Farooq is an extremely dangerous individual who amassed a significant amount of practical and theoretical information that enabled him to produce a viable explosive device. He then took that homemade explosive device to a hospital where he worked with the intention to cause serious harm."

David added, “The extremist views Farooq holds are a threat to our society, and I am pleased the jury found him guilty of his crimes.”

The trial highlighted the importance of vigilance and the role of ordinary citizens, like Nathan Newby, in preventing potential tragedies.

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