When Richard Dart, Jahangir Alom and Imran Mahmood were making plans for two of them, Dart and Alom, to fly to Pakistan, they did not expect those travels to lead them to the dock at the Old Bailey and jail. But this case serves as another reminder that those who take steps to travel abroad for the purposes of preparing for terrorism can and will be prosecuted here in the UK.
Although the men did not identify any specific targets for an attack, their determination and intent were very clear. The training that Dart and Alom sought, and which Mahmood attempted to assist with, would have taught Dart and Alom the skills and techniques necessary to commit acts of terrorism both aboard and in the United Kingdom. Mahmood had already undertaken training and was already asking Dart for help in locating a book that would allow him to make home-made explosives.
These are dangerous men. Mahmood had received terrorist training in Pakistan and suggested he had knowledge of how to make home made explosives while Dart and Alom made great efforts to travel to Pakistan and aspired to seek training from terrorist groups there.
They all were clearly aware of anti-surveillance techniques as shown by the use of silent conversations and expressed a desire to carry out terrorist attacks.
This was a complex investigation carried out jointly by the Counter Terrorism Command and the Security Service but mixture of dedicated, diligent traditional detective work combined with the latest technology and computer techniques brought these men to justice and made the public safer.
This case serves as a classic example of how terrorists live in our midst while preparing their acts and their determination to travel overseas to train before returning to the UK.
It also illustrates the balance we need to achieve between maintaining public safety while gathering sufficient evidence to secure a conviction while maintaining the confidence of all our communities.
– Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, Senior National Co-ordinator Counter Terrorism
Today the sentencing process, which could take until tomorrow, began at the Old Bailey.
Prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw QC told the court:
"The method employed as the police, with the help of computer experts, would subsequently discover, involved Dart and Mahmood sitting together at a computer and opening a Word document on the computer to conduct what in effect was a silent conversation.
"Having had that discussion by typing into the document, the document was then deleted by one or other of the defendants, without having been saved and as far as the defendants were concerned the document would therefore be destroyed forever.
"They plainly were under the misapprehension that the text once deleted could never be recovered."
Three men, including a white Muslim convert, are due to be sentenced after pleading guilty to plotting a terror attack in the former military repatriation town of Wootton Bassett.
Richard Dart and his co-conspirators Jahangir Alom and Imran Mahmood admitted to the plot last month. Dart and Alom travelled to Pakistan to try to get terrorist training, and took advice from Mahmood who had already visited the country.
Dart, a former BBC security guard, also discussed bomb making and potential targets with Mahmood, which included the town of Wootton Bassett.