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  1. ITV Report

Oldham couple jailed for terror offences

Shasta and Mohammed Sajid Khan Photo: Greater Manchester Police

A husband and wife team who were preparing to carry out a terrorist attack in Manchester have been jailed.

Hairdresser Shasta Khan (born 20/02/1974), and her husband Mohammed Sajid Khan (born 01/08/1978), are believed to have been in the early stages of building an improvised explosive device to target Jewish communities in Manchester.

However, their plot was foiled by officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.

The couple, of Foster Street, Oldham, have today been jailed at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square.

Shasta was convicted of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism and two counts of possessing a record of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism following a trial and was jailed for eight years.

Mohammed Sajid Khan pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism. He was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP). He must serve a minimum of seven and a half years before being considered eligible for parole.

The couple married just six weeks after they met on an Internet dating site, and just a few months later were actively listening to and reading extremist Al Qaeda-inspired material.

Between March and July 2011, the couple began to access online bomb-making manuals and acquired everyday household items from supermarkets and high street retailers which could be used to construct a viable, and deadly, explosive device within the confines of their marital home, which also doubled as Shasta Khan's hairdressing salon.

It is believed they were preparing to carry out a terrorist attack in Britain, with the most likely target being the Jewish communities of Manchester. Evidence of the couple driving around these communities to look at possible targets in these areas was found, along with extremist literature espousing anti-Semitic and violent jihadist beliefs.

Their plan was unravelled after police were initially called to reports of a domestic assault, but a family member intimated that possible terrorist acts were being committed and the NWCTU investigation was launched.

What we must acknowledge is the dangers posed by the relatively easy access to online publications which contain instructions on how to make viable explosive devices from everyday household items, and how this can create 'home-grown' terrorists. The Khans did not need to travel to training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan - the knowledge they needed to commit a terrorist act was available at the click of a few buttons from the confines of their own home. As the prosecution described it, this was 'jihad at home'.

Everyone can play their part in helping defeat this type of terrorism. If you know of someone in your community who begins to develop extremist views, then tell us straightaway.

– Detective Chief Superintendent Anthony Mole, head of the North West Counter-Terrorism Unit