The 18 year old boy, Kazi Islam, met his friend Harry Thomas at Barking and Dagenham College in East London in the autumn of 2012. Since the teenagers were on the same IT course, Islam was aware that Mr Thomas had learning difficulties.
The following autumn, after they left college, Mr. Thomas got in touch with Islam on social media. Mr Thomas, who is now 20, was upset after he had split up with his girlfriend.
While pretending to sympathize, Islam on the other hand, began the grooming process which was described in court as a combination of flattery, bullying and threats.
It was a few months after the murder of a British soldier named, Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, prosecutors said the incident had inspired Islam.
According to BBC News, Mr Thomas describes Islam’s character as double-sided.
I think he is a very, very manipulative person. He’s very cunning. He makes out he’s this really kind person because that’s how he comes across at first but deep inside he’s evil. He thought I was stupid. He thought I was that vulnerable that I would actually make this bomb for him,” he says.
Mr Thomas, who is not a Muslim, says he resisted suggestions from Islam that he should change his name to Haroon to make it sound more Arabic.
In addition, Islam preyed Mr Thomas, demanding him to buy ingredients for a pipe bomb and go to the chemist for bottles of hydrogen peroxide.
The Old Bailey heard Islam, of Manor Park, east London, used BlackBerry Messenger and WhatsApp to bully Thomas into joining his plan. He tried to nickname the bomb they were making ‘cake’ but a bewildered Mr Thomas gave the game away by replying:
Cake? U mean the b-o-m-b?”
When attention turned to killing a soldier, Islam told him to get a meat cleaver or a knife and said,
When I give you the order I want you to kill a soldier…2 soldiers.”
I was worried but I wasn’t going to do it. I was trying to buy myself some time. I didn’t know what to do because I thought if I grass on him I could end up in stitches. Snitches get stitches – that’s a saying that’s true these days. And if I say to him I’m not going to do it he might kill me,” Mr Thomas says.
Counter-terrorism detectives eventually arrested Islam at his home in Manor Park, east London, in July 2014.
He’s not scared to go to prison, he told me that. And he says he’ll end up in a better place for the crimes he’s committed. He said his God will look after him and think he’s done a really good thing,” Thomas adds.
via BBC News