A woman who had plotted an Easter suicide bomb attack on London’s St Paul’s Cathedral in support of the Islamic State has been jailed for life and told she must serve at least 14 years behind bars. Identified as Safiyya Shaikh during questioning she had revealed that she visited Sri Lanka and was inspired by the Easter Sunday attacks that took place in the country last year.
Safiyya Shaikh, 37, had planned to leave a bomb in a bag at the cathedral and another bomb at the hotel where she would have stayed before the attack, and then detonate a suicide vest on a London Underground train, police and prosecutors said.
However, the husband and wife extremists she had contacted online to obtain the bombs, and who she believed shared her view of violent jihad, were actually undercover officers.
She pleaded guilty to terrorism offenses in February and was jailed on Friday at the Old Bailey court.
“Safiyya Shaikh chose to live her life as a violent extremist with a murderous hatred of those who did not share her twisted version of Islam,” said Jenny Hopkins from Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).Her defence lawyers said she had doubts about the plot, but prosecutors disclosed details of a call she made to a friend from prison last week in which she said she “didn’t get cold feet” and “was ready to go through with it”.
Shaikh, a Muslim convert from west London, had scoped out security at the church and was then secretly filmed in a park handing the “wife” two bags that were to be returned to her at a later date with two working bombs.
She told the couple in a secure message: “I really would love to destroy that place and the kaffir there.”She also praised Islamic State and encouraged the killing of civilians across the world, prosecutors said. Police said Shaikh was also heavily involved in extremist propaganda posts online and inspiring others to fight.
(This article was originally published on ABC)