Man who urged extremists to kill Prince George at his school jailed for 25 years

Newly released footage shows Husnain Rashid pretending to faint when police officers from the Greater Manchester Police raided his home and arrested him in November 2017

                            Man who urged extremists to kill Prince George at his school jailed for 25 years
Prince George (Source:Getty Images)

An ISIS supporter was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years imprisonment on July 13 after he admitted to planning and encouraging acts of terrorism. The Woolwich Crown Court heard yesterday how 32-year-old Husnain Rashid had used an encrypted messaging app to compel extremists in the city of Lancashire to go on "lone wolf" attacks. This included an attack that was planned on Prince George just after he started school at Thomas's Battersea in south London in September 2017. He had posted a photograph of the four-year-old prince with a terrifying message: "Even the royal family will not be left alone. School starts early."

A video that was recently released shows the ex-website designer pretending to faint when he was being apprehended by the authorities in connection to multiple terrorism offenses in November 2017. He can be seen falling dramatically to the ground when the police went to arrest him at his parents' house in Nelson, Lancashire.

Prince George arrives for his first day of school with his father Prince William as they are met Head of the lower school Helen Haslem at Thomas's Battersea on September 7, 2017 in London (Photo by Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images)


Rashid, who is an Islamic religion teacher, told his followers to inject poison into ice cream and even "blow up and slaughter" fans attending the World Cup that is currently taking place in Russia, the Daily Mail reported. 

Rashid had been in contact with a British ISIS agent in Syria and was also the one behind the creation of an online magazine entitled the Lone Mujahid, which is also the name he had given to his Telegram channel. Investigators on the case believe that the terror death group supporter was setting up an operation in what they say will "mirror" the ISIS unit in Raqqa, Syria.

The man kept saying he was innocent at the beginning of the trial but then shockingly changed his plea on the third day of the court proceedings and confessed to multiple terrorism offenses. He was given three life sentences in court on July 13. Judge Andrew Lees was the one sentencing Rashid in court and said he had shown "ruthless dedication to the cause". He added: "You are in my judgment a dangerous offender. It is not possible to say when you will cease to be a danger."

The jury also heard in the court how Rashid's Telegram channel has been functioning like an "e-toolkit for terrorism". He is also believed to have sent about 300,000 messages on the encrypted messaging app in the 18 months that led up to his arrest. The platform "prides itself on never having provided law enforcement agencies with any user data". A spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Police said that the app also allows users to communicate with each other without detection.

The posts have been alleged to include a recipe to make ricin (a poison) that was taken from the Islamist propaganda magazine called Inspire, how to make Molotov cocktails and napalm, as well as a suggestion to poison ice creams in supermarkets. The post about Prince George shows the young child next to a photo of the school that he joined. A black silhouette of a jihadi fighter was superimposed onto the picture and the post had the caption: "Even the royal family will not be left alone. School starts early."

Judge Lees said in court: "The message was clear: you were providing the name and address of Prince George's school, an image of Prince George's school and the instruction or threat that Prince George and other members of the royal family should be viewed as potential targets."

The website also included many suggestions for other targets such as British Army bases, shopping complexes, Jewish communities, and various Government buildings. Users of the app could also analyze the terrorist bomb attack on the Besiktas stadium in Istanbul that claimed the lives of 38 people.

Users were also able to discuss how any person who went for a match would probably be non-Muslim and they also discussed how planning an attack on a lower league football match was better because there would be less security. Rashid is also responsible for posting a map of Sixth Avenue in New York with the message attached saying: "New York Halloween Parade. Have you made your preparations? The Countdown begins." This was posted right after Sayfullah Saipo killed 8 people and injured others by driving a truck into pedestrians in the same city.

Rashid was arrested by the Greater Manchester Police on November 22, 2017. When the authorities raided his home, the man ran out the back in order to escape. In the process, he threw his cell phone high up into the air so that the officers would not be able to find it with him at the time he was arrested. Unfortunately for Rashid, the phone landed right at the feet of a police officer who had surrounded the house. Investigators were able to find chats between Rashid and Amaq, an ISIS news agency. They also found a draft for a new online magazine which would give "tips for the mujahideen [fighters] in the enemy lands".

Prosecutor Annabel Darlow QC said: "The underlying message intended by the defendant was clear: to encourage lone wolf jihadists operating on British soil to launch an attack on those watching events in stadiums and suggesting how to maximize the impact of the attack."  

Detective Chief Inspector Will Chatterton, head of investigations for counter-terrorism policing in the north-west, said: "[Rashid] was in the process of creating an online Jihadi magazine, The Lone Mujahid, which contained advice and guidance to specifically lone wolf Jihadists. At the same time, he was creating and managing and populating many forums or encrypted channels with colossal amounts of terrorist materials and the glorification of terrorism that went around the globe. He was also communicating with individuals on the battlefield in Syria.

"We saw direct communication with someone actually fighting with Isil that included an exchange of advice and techniques. The sheer volume of material he created and populated, and the glorification that went alongside it, was readily available to people across the globe."

Husnain Rashid was charged with three counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts after his arrest. He was sentenced to three life terms, a minimum of 25 years, as well as one count of encouraging terrorism. Two more charges of dissemination of a terrorist publication were also slapped against his name. He committed all these offenses between October 2016 and April 2018.