A Sheffield student has been jailed for 10 years for preparing acts of terrorism

He was arrested in June


Mohammed Awan, a fourth year student at the University of Sheffield, has been jailed for 10 years after planning to commit acts of terrorism.

He was sentenced yesterday at Sheffield Crown Court, having been found guilty of preparing for terrorist acts and being found in possession of material likely to be useful to a terrorist.

Judge Paul Watson QC said the 24-year-old was "to a very large extent radicalised" by his older brother Rizwan Awan, who killed 30 people in a bomb attack in Iraq in 2016.

As he passed sentence, Watson said: "I am completely satisfied that you had intentionally adopted an outwardly innocent and respectable persona with the clear intention that, at some future point, you would be able to perpetrate a terrorist act without being detected."

Awan was in his fourth year of studying dentistry at the University of Sheffield, and police arrested him after he purchased 500 ball bearings online in June, which he tried to claim he had bought for hunting.

Raids took place on a flat in Dun Street in Sheffield, as well as his family home in Huddersfield, where officers found a "significant volume" of extremist material, including advice on how to be a "sleeper cell" in the West.

11 mobile phones, 16 memory sticks and seven computers were also seized, with one USB containing a 36-minute ISIS recruitment video and graphic footage of how to kill and kidnap victims.

Judge Watson continued: "The ideology to which you had so clearly wedded yourself is, to all right-thinking, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive Muslims living in harmony in this country, utterly abhorrent.

"Your romanticised notions of a jihadi struggle involving violence and destruction are far removed from the Islamic faith. You are, in my view, someone who is even now in the grip of idealistic extremism."

Awan said he will appeal against his conviction and sentence.

The sentencing comes a day after four men in Sheffield and Chesterfield were arrested, also on suspicion of planning terrorism offences, and a community centre at Bungreave has been searched in relation to this.

Simon Atkinson, Head of Investigations at Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: "Public safety is, and always will be, our priority."

He also urged people to "be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police by calling the police, in confidence, on 0800 789321 or 999 in an emergency."

The Tab Sheffield

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