Counter terrorism police brand Sheffield man 'dangerous' after guilty verdict over terror plot

Counter-terrorism police have released more details on a ‘dangerous’ Sheffield man found guilty over a terror plot which could have resulted in the loss of life.

Friday, 12th July 2019, 1:36 pm
Updated Friday, 12th July 2019, 3:35 pm

Farhad Salah, aged 23, of Brunswick Road, Burngreave, was found guilty today of preparing to commit an act of terrorism after a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

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He was arrested by officers from Counter Terrorism Policing North East (CTPNE) last December, with the support of South Yorkshire Police, in an operation which resulted in the early disruption of attack planning, before a target could be identified.

L-R: Farhad Salah and Andy Star

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CTPNE branded Salah ‘dangerous’ and said he posed ‘a very real risk to the safety of our communities’.

The specialist police branch said he had expressed a desire to fight in Daesh occupied territory and was frustrated that he was unable to travel as a result of his unsettled immigration status.

His frustration led to him exploring alternative ways to support Daesh.

CTPNE said the police investigation uncovered extensive evidence that Salah possessed an ‘extremist ideology’.

Officers said he was possession of a wide range of ‘extremist’ material, including Daesh propaganda films, in which much of the material was ‘extremely disturbing, involving horrific scenes of torture and murder’.

Officers also recovered ‘deeply concerning messages which revealed an affiliation with Daesh and a belief in violent Jihad’.

Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: “During the course of this case Salah has been inconsistent in his explanation of the evidence.

“He tried to defend his possession of extremist material and the content of his online communications, claiming his account was hacked and he was merely curious about the ideology of Daesh.

“Today the jury saw through these justifications and agreed that these Salah was in fact a dangerous individual, who was preparing for acts that may have resulted in loss of life.

“Salah clearly had an extremist mind set and communication from him indicates that he saw his situation as critical. He claimed he was a terrorist, who would be judged by God.

“While our investigation did not establish the target of a potential attack, Salah posed a very real risk to the safety of our communities. We’re grateful we were able to disrupt his plans before he’d identified an opportunity to see them through.”

Jurors failed to reach a verdict on Salah’s co-defendant, chip-shop owner Andy Star, 32, who was charged with the same offence.

Prosecutors claimed the pair were in the early stages of testing small improvised explosive devices when they were arrested in high-profile raids on their homes, a Sheffield community centre and a Chesterfield fish-and-chip shop in December 2017.

But Star, of Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, has always insisted that gunpowder and other items found in his flat above the chip shop were all connected to his long-standing interest in fireworks.

After 15 hours of deliberations the jury was discharged on Friday morning.

Judge Paul Watson QC told jurors they were the second panel to have tried the pair.

He said that another jury failed to reach verdicts on either defendant after a trial last year.

The court was told that Star will not face a third trial but will continue to be detained on immigration matters.

Salah is to be sentenced on July 24.

Anyone with information about suspicious activity or behaviour should call 0800 789 321 or report it online at gov.uk/ACT.

In the case of an emergency, or a need for urgent police assistance, always dial 999.