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  1. ITV Report

Former Royal Mail worker jailed for life after planning central London terror attack

Lewis Ludlow has been jailed for planning a terror attack in London. Credit: PA

A former Royal Mail worker, nicknamed "The Eagle", has been jailed for life after pleading guilty to planning a terror attack in central London and funding so-called Islamic State.

Lewis Ludlow, a Muslim convert who swore allegiance to the terror group, will serve at least 15 years in prison.

The 27-year-old, from Rochester in Kent, was planning to drive a van through London's shopping district or Madame Tussauds at the time of his arrest.

He researched targets including Oxford Street, Madame Tussauds and St. Paul's Cathedral.

A surveillance image of Lewis Ludlow taking pictures on Oxford Street. Credit: Counter Terrorism Policing South East/PA

He bought a phone using a false name and wrote down his attack plans after researching them in an internet cafe in central London.

Last April, the mobile phone was recovered from a storm drain and footage was found of him pledging allegiance to so-called Islamic State.

Ludlow's planning notes were recovered by counter-terror police. He noted the time and day Oxford Street is busiest with shoppers, commenting on the lack of bollards between the road and the pavement.

He identified the street as an "ideal" spot, writing: "It is expected nearly 100 could be killed in the attack."

Last year, he pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to plotting an attack in the UK and funding IS abroad.

A handwritten letter found in bin detailing potential targets in London. Credit: Counter Terrorism Policing South East/PA

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC jailed Ludlow for life with a minimum term of 15 years.

Ludlow was also sentenced to a further seven years in prison to run concurrently for the funding offence.

The judge said Ludlow had been engaged in preparations for a "spectacular" multi-casualty attack "with the intention of causing death or terror".

He told the defendant: "Your commitment at the time we are concerned with to violent extremism ran very deep and for some time.

"There could be no other explanation for your preparing to kill innocent people in a vehicle attack for ideological reasons."

When Ludlow was arrested he refused to explain his actions during interview.

Ludlow's mobile phone was recovered from a storm drain. Credit: PA

He told the Old Bailey he was coerced into planning the attack, stating IS supporters had said to him: "You have to do it. You have to kill them, make them pay in blood, you must get revenge. They are not innocent. They deserve to die."

He went on to claim an IS supporter said: "The best way to do so was using a ram attack. He said in order to achieve such a spectacular attack we should use a truck bomb attack to achieve the necessary effect."

But Judge Hilliard rejected the suggestion Ludlow had been coerced into the planning, saying the defendant was "nobody's fool."

He added: "I do not regard you as suggestible or easily taken advantage of."

An image of a note written by Ludlow as he research the attack in an internet cafe. Credit: PA

Ludlow first came to police attention in 2010 after attending a rally held by banned group Al-Muhajiroun.

In 2015, he was arrested after IS material was found on his electronic devices but no further action was taken. He declined to join government counter-terror programme Prevent.

Last January, he bought a ticket to fly to the Philippines where he planned to meet with an IS supporter. He was stopped at the airport and had his passport seized.

During the case he remarked how he became "bitter" and "heartbroken" when banned from travelling, saying: "I felt that I was trapped like an animal unable to escape its cage."