Nelson Isis supporter pleads guilty to numerous terror offences

An Islamic State (IS) supporter who called for jihadis to attack Prince George has brought his trial to a halt with a dramatic change of plea.
Husnain Rashid (pic: BBC)Husnain Rashid (pic: BBC)
Husnain Rashid (pic: BBC)

Husnain Rashid, of Nelson, had maintained his innocence throughout proceedings at Woolwich Crown Court, but on Thursday unexpectedly admitted a string of terror offences.

The 32-year-old used a Telegram chat group to call on supporters on October 13th to target the four-year-old heir to the throne, who had started at Thomas's Battersea, in south-west London, a month earlier.

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He also posted suggestions of which British football stadiums terrorists could strike, following the deadly attack outside Besiktas's ground in Turkey, his trial previously heard. Prosecutors said Rashid was encouraging terrorism by posting a photograph of the prince at the school super-imposed with silhouettes of two masked jihad fighters.

But nearly two weeks into his trial, the defendant, of Leonard Street, was re-indicted and pleaded guilty to three counts of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts and one count of encouraging terrorism.

The charges covered offences spanning from October 2016 to April this year. He was arrested at his home in November. Two charges of dissemination of a terrorist publication and one of failing to comply with a notice under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act will lay on file.

The jury were absent when prosecutor Annabel Darlow asked that Rashid be re-indicted on four of the counts. He pleaded guilty to all, without betraying any emotion in the dock.

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The prosecutor then asked Judge Andrew Lees to lay the remaining the charges on file, as the dissemination charges are "subsumed" by the charges he had admitted and it was "not in the public interest" to proceed to trial on the basis of the final charge alone.