Dentist jailed after terrorist material and recipes to make explosives found on computer in £500k Hazel Grove house
Stockport Express | Friday, 16 November 2012 | Click here for original article
A dentist has been jailed for two years for having a catalogue of terrorist material on his computer.
Dr Umer Farooq, 34, was said to have an interest in manuals on explosives, guns, poisons and unarmed combat beyond that of curiosity. He pleaded guilty to 14 counts of possessing material likely to be useful in terrorism.
The Old Bailey was told this included copies of al-Qaeda magazine Inspire, the Terrorist Handbook Of Explosives, and other documents.
John Sandiford, prosecuting, said the Pakistani national had been doing a two-year Masters degree course in public health at university in Wrexham, North Wales.
He was soon to go back to Pakistan when in June police raided the £500,000 home of a family member where he was lodging in Bramhall Moor Lane, Hazel Grove.
His computer files had been encrypted and officers were only able to access them after finding a reference in another computer.
Timothy Green, defending, said most of the material was freely available on the internet.
But Mr Justice Fulford said: "He had some worrying interests. He had been reading or posting terrorist-related material for some time - even such matters as records of nuclear sites in the United States.
"He may not be a terrorist in that he has not been actively involved in terrorist acts but he is, in his interests, a fellow traveller."
Farooq was served with deportation documents and will be sent back to Pakistan after serving his sentence.
Detective Superintendent Mark Smith said: "We may never know the true intent behind Farooq's actions. Only he knows why he accessed materials on how to construct viable explosive devices.
"However, I do want to reassure people that we did not discover any evidence of genuine attack-planning, nor anything to suggest that Farooq was planning to construct such a device. It might have been pure fantasy on his part for whatever reason, but I want to stress there was no threat to any of our communities.
"I also want to make it clear that we believe Farooq was acting alone. We have no intelligence to suggest he was linked to or belonged to a terrorist cell. Equally, I want to make it absolutely clear there are no suspicions whatsoever about the family members he was staying with.
"We must always recognise the dangers posed by the relatively easy access to these online publications which contain instructions on how to make viable explosive devices from everyday household items.
"That is why the North West Counter Terrorism Unit will always act on credible information that extremist websites are being accessed and we will never hesitate when there is evidence of possible terrorist activity. That is the very reason we arrested Farooq when we did - there can be no delay.
"And anyone who is found to be accessing bomb-making manuals, whether they plan to build them or just out of morbid curiosity, faces a prison sentence."