A terrorist groomed by his older brother – an Islamic State suicide bomber – has been jailed for 10 years.
Sending him down, judge Paul Watson QC told him: “You seemed to have rejoiced in the ritual executions and mutilation of other human beings perpetrated in the name of Islamic extremism.”
Dental student Mohammed Awan, 24, whose family home is in Rudding Street, Crosland Moor, was found guilty by a jury last Wednesday.
The jury at Sheffield Crown Court took just four hours to find him guilty of preparing for terrorist acts and possession of material likely to be useful to a terrorist following a three week trial.
Judge Watson jailed Awan, a fourth year dental student at the University of Sheffield, for 10 years and ordered him to serve three years extended licence upon his release.
The judge said that in May 2015 the defendant’s older brother Rizwan left the UK for Syria in order to fight for so-called IS.
He said that before he left “either he (Rizwan), or you (Mohammed) or you and he together, downloaded a great deal of extremist material, mostly videos.
“Once he was in Syria he was in contact with you and it is clear to me that by this time you were already on the way to becoming radicalised yourself.
“You were creating notes on your own electronic devices which showed that you had been fantasising about taking part in fighting on behalf of the caliphate and that you were intent on engaging in activity on behalf of IS, whether here or abroad.
“You retained documents from your brother which celebrated brutal and depraved acts of terror such as beheadings, burning people alive and the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris in 2015.
“You seemed to have rejoiced in the ritual executions and mutilation of other human beings perpetrated in the name of Islamic extremism.”
The court heard earlier that police acted following the discovery that Awan had purchased 500 ballbearings which he ordered over the internet and were delivered to the family home.
The judge added that it was unclear what precise terrorist purpose Awan had in mind.
But he said: “It is clear that you had formulated the intention to do something.
“You were no Walter Mitty fantasist.”
During his trial Awan claimed the ballbearings and a catapult he bought were for fishing and hunting game.
The judge added: “Having heard all of the evidence in this case, I am completely satisfied that you had intentionally adopted an outwardly innocent and respectable persona with the clear intention that, at some future point, you would be able to perpetrate a terrorist act without being detected.
“I do not for one minute think that the terrorist act would have involved the use of a mere catapult.
“The purchase of the catapult, I am sure, was no more than part of a cover story to explain your purchase of over 500 ballbearings if the police should ever enquire.
“You had all the advantages of a young man growing up in this country in a family of respectable, caring and dedicated parents.
“The devastation for them is barely imaginable. They know, as you do, that they will be now losing their youngest son for a very long time.
“You are, in my view someone who is even now in the grip of idealistic extremism.”
In mitigation Imran Khan said Awan “wanted to be a dentist from the age of 12. That career is now doomed forever.
“His father and grandfather were in the British Army. His family want to make it known that despite the guilty verdict they condemn all forms of terrorism.
“There is no doubt that he was groomed by his older brother and he was vulnerable to that.”
Det Supt Simon Atkinson, of the North East Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “We welcome the sentence and hopefully it will act as a deterrent to others.
“Awan is an intelligent man responsible for his own actions.”
He added: “We may never know his intended target.”