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  1. ITV Report

Man found guilty of preparing for acts of terrorism

Ismael Watson was born Jack Watson Photo: West Midlands Police

A 27-year-old man has been convicted of planning to travel to Syria to engage in terrorism.

Ismael Watson, originally born Jack Watson, was found guilty of preparing for acts of terrorism, following a two-day trial at London’s Central Criminal Court.

Watson, of no fixed address, refused to leave prison to attend the trial and was convicted in his absence and remains in custody awaiting sentencing.

He was stopped by officials in July 2016, as he tried to cross into Syria from the Turkish border, where he intended to fight in the warzone with Daesh.

Watson was deported back to Heathrow, where he was arrested by officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit.

Ismael Watson, originally born Jack Watson, moved to the West Midlands after beginning an Islamic marriage in September 2015. The police investigation began In November that year, when his former wife called police concerned Watson was becoming radicalised and holding extremist views.

Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, who heads the force’s counter terror unit said:

If anyone is concerned that a friend or family member is thinking of travelling to Syria it is very important that they tell us as soon as possible.

Police and other agencies can offer support to help safeguard those who are vulnerable to radicalisers.

– Chief Superintendent Matt Ward

The marriage ended a couple of months later and enquiries revealed he had attempted to fly to Marrakech in Morocco, but had been stopped by authorities. He told officers he wanted to travel to Morocco on holiday, following his marriage break-up and the day after he managed to fly there from Gatwick Airport. His family grew concerned when he failed to catch his flight home and contacted their local officers.

In April 2016 Watson was detained by Turkish authorities for immigration matters but released a few weeks later. He was eventually stopped again as he tried to cross the border into Syria in July 2016 and deported back to the UK in February this year, where he was arrested at the airport.

Watson admitted to police he became radicalised and intended to enter Syria and commit terrorist acts.

He will be sentenced at a future date.