Matthew King, who pleaded guilty to plotting an attack in UK, desired to torture, mutilate and kill British army personnel in Stratford, east London. The 19-year-old was alleged to have carried out surveillance at police stations, railway stations, an army barracks and a magistrates' court.
King was arrested on May 18, 2022 by officers from the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command. "I don't believe in the UK law, the only law I believe in is the law of Allah," the teenager from Wickford, Essex had said during his arrest.
He was charged with preparing an act of terrorism between December 22, 2021 and May 17, 2022.
Harboured Extreme Islamist Beliefs
Prosecutor Gillian Curl, at an earlier hearing, said that no specific act of terrorism had been identified but he was preparing for an act against either serving on-duty police officers or military personnel. Investigators believe the plot was related to extreme Islamic beliefs.
Authorities had initially received a tip-off about King through an anti-terrorist hotline and the Prevent counter-terrorism programme after he posted a video on WhatsApp group on April 13, 2022. The video had an image of a male holding a knife with the words "Those who said that there is no jihad and no battle, they are lying! Our jihad will continue until disappearance until the day of judgment! Now the battle has begun and it will continue until the day of judgment. So take out your sword, O youth, and destroy the kufr."
According to court documents, King revealed his desire to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State. He bought tactical gloves, and goggles and registered with an online knife retailer. The youth also sought advice on social media about the best route to get to Syria and discussed it on a WhatsApp group. King revealed his plan to an individual identified only as "JF" and made videos expressing his admiration for IS.
Intentions Not Clear
Commander Richard Smith, head of Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said it is not clear when or where King intended to carry out his attack. "But he had conducted a significant amount of hostile reconnaissance. In online conversations, he talked about committing an indiscriminate attack on the public. Disturbingly, he spoke about targeting police officers and army personnel."
Smith added that concerns about King's mindset were reported to police. Those reports led to the young man being investigated and his attack planning being discovered. "This is another case which shows how the round-the-clock efforts of police, with our partners, are keeping the public safe from very real threats."