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  1. ITV Report

'Three Musketeers' terror gang received nearly £800,000 in legal aid

The terrorist cell dubbed themselves the Credit: ITV News Central

A terror group from the Midlands jailed for life after being found guilty of preparing for acts of terrorism received nearly £800,000 in legal aid, figures have revealed.

Next-door neighbours Naweed Ali, 29, and Khobaib Hussain, 25, from Birmingham, and Mohibur Rahman, 33 and Tahir Aziz, 38, both from Stoke-on-Trent were awarded the funds to pay for solicitors, barristers and QCs.

Their lawyers accused counter terror officers of planting a bag of weapons, including a pipe bomb and a meat cleaver during a four-month trial.

A jury rejected the claims and all four men- who called themselves the "Three Musketeers" in encrypted group chats - were found guilty.

The four men have been jailed for life for preparing a terror attack. Credit: West Midlands Police

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws show the Legal Aid Agency has paid a total of £790,485 in lawyers' fees and other payments, known as disbursements, to fund their failed defence.

The billing process is not yet complete, with the final figure likely to rise.

In a response, a Ministry of Justice spokesman "Anyone facing a crown court trial is eligible for legal aid, subject to a strict means test. Applicants who meet the relevant means thresholds may still be required to pay a significant contribution towards the costs of their defence."

Ali, Rahman and Hussain were jailed for a minimum of 20 years in August, while Aziz was handed a 15-year minimum term after they were found guilty of plotting to strike police and military targets on British soil last summer.