Muslim convert facing jail for Oxford Street terror plot

The terrorist was planning an attack outside the Disney store on Oxford Street Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA

A Muslim convert nicknamed “The Eagle” is facing years in jail for a plot to kill 100 people in a terror attack near the Disney Store on Oxford Street.

Lewis Ludlow, 27, swore allegiance to Islamic State as he prepared to drive a van through London’s shopping district or Madame Tussauds.

He bought a phone under a false name and wrote down his attack plans, which were later found ripped up in a bin.

The defendant, who called himself “The Eagle” and “The Ghost”, also researched potential targets around the capital.

He identified Oxford Street as an “ideal” target, writing: “It is expected nearly 100 could be killed in the attack.”

Ludlow, from Rochester, in Kent, formulated his plan after being stopped by police at Heathrow Airport in February as he attempted to board a flight to the Philippines.

It was alleged he also set up a Facebook account called Antique Collections as a front to send money to south-east Asia for terrorism.

He pleaded guilty to plotting an attack in the UK and funding IS abroad and will be sentenced on Friday by Old Bailey Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC.

Madame Tussaud’s Credit: Tim Ireland/PA

According to a prosecution summary, Ludlow first came to the attention of police in 2010 when he attended a demonstration led by radical preacher Anjem Choudary and his banned Al-Muhajiroun (ALM) group.

When he was arrested in 2015, IS material was recovered from his electronic devices but no further action was taken.

In January this year, he bought a ticket to fly to the Philippines on February 3 but was stopped at the airport and had his passport seized.

Spoken to by police, he claimed he was going to the country as a sex tourist, but in a search of his home, officers found he was in communication with a man named Abu Yaqeen in an area with a significant IS presence.

In March, Ludlow sent him money by PayPal and created the Facebook account Antique Collections.

It purported to be an antiques business in Maidstone but, the prosecution alleged, was really a front to raise money for IS in the Philippines.

Anjem Choudary Credit: Nick Ansell/PA

On March 21, police recovered torn-up scraps of paper from Ludlow’s bin detailing his plans.

They were pieced together to reveal “potential attack sites” including Madame Tussauds, Oxford Street, St Paul’s Cathedral and a “Shia temple in Romford”.

It added: “Further locations scouted for the kil.”

He detailed a potential attack on Oxford Street using a van mounting the pavement, noting the lack of safety barriers.

It said: “Wolf should either use a ram attack or use… on the truck to maximise death… it is a busy street it is ideal for an attack. It is expected nearly 100 could be killed in the attack.”

On April 13, Ludlow’s mobile phone was retrieved from a storm drain and found to have videos of the defendant swearing allegiance to IS and pictures of crowded areas, said to be evidence of “hostile reconnaissance”.

Undercover officers engaged Yaqeen in online chat, in which the IS fanatic called for “lone wolf” attacks and funds to be sent to the Philippines.

Yaqeen put an undercover officer in touch with Ludlow, implying they could work together on an attack in Britain.

Ludlow was arrested by counter-terrorism police on April 18 but refused to explain himself when he was interviewed.