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British Man Planned To Kill Hundreds In Terror Plot

A man who planned to kill 100 people in a London terror attack was instructed by an Islamic State (IS) commander to make the British people “pay in their blood”, a court has heard.

Lewis Ludlow, 27, from Rochester in Kent, said he was told to set off a truck bomb after being refused permission to leave the UK. He then carried out “reconnaissance” and planned to target Oxford Street.

Ludlow pleaded guilty in August to preparing acts of terrorism. He is giving evidence at the Old Bailey ahead of sentencing as there are still disputed issues between the prosecution and defence.

The former Royal Mail worker said a Filipino extremist, known as Abu Yaqeen, told him to scout potential targets, take pictures, and prepare an oath of allegiance to IS.

The court heard on Thursday how Ludlow was working with the government’s de-radicalisation programme, known as Prevent, while planning the attacks.

Images taken by Ludlow, by then under intensive police surveillance, of various London landmarks, including Madame Tussauds and the Disney Store on Oxford Street, were shown to the court.

In a torn-up note recovered from a bin hear his home, Ludlow had written “it is a busy street it is ideal for an attack. It is expected nearly 100 could be killed.”

Ludlow, a Muslim convert who used the name Ali Hussain, had planned to join Abu Yaqeen in a conflict-scarred area of the Philippines, but was prevented from doing so by the police. His passport was subsequently cancelled.

“I felt I was trapped like an animal unable to escape from its cage,” Ludlow told the court. He said the cancellation of his passport “literally broke my heart”. He said Abu Yaqeen then encouraged him to carry out a terror attack in the UK.

Abu Yaqeen instructed him to “do something against the kuffar (non-believers) in the land”, Ludlow told the court. “I said what do you mean? He said we have to kill them.” He added: “I said no at first as I felt this was a bit scary.”

Ludlow, who has also admitted a terror funding offence, told the court: “He said you must kill them. Make them pay in their blood. They have killed innocents. You must get revenge. They stopped you leaving – there is no covenant.”

He said Abu Yaqeen – who is now under arrest in the Philippines – had told him that in order to achieve “a spectacular attack we should use a truck bomb attack to achieve the desired effect”.

Ludlow, who cannot drive, told the court that Abu Yaqeen instructed him to learn how to drive. He told the Old Bailey he was “very scared to drive”, as it requires “deep concentration” and “alertness.”

Ludlow said Abu Yaqeen wanted to receive his handwritten attack plans “as homework”. But Ludlow said he changed his mind and tore them up because he “felt ashamed and guilty”. He said he then told Abu Yaqeen he only wanted to “help the Muslims and was scared of death”, the court heard. “[Abu Yaqeen] said ‘fine just do finance activities instead’,” Ludlow said.

Defence barrister Rebecca Trowler QC earlier told the court Ludlow was “a vulnerable man” because of his mental health difficulties, his autism and associated depression. She said his attack preparations were “embryonic, of low value, and highly unlikely to come to fruition”.

The hearing continues.