A female supporter of the Islamic State terror group has pleaded guilty to plotting to bomb St Paul's Cathedral and a hotel, Sky News reports. Safiyya Amira Shaikh, 36, from Hayes, Middlesex, admitted preparation of terrorist acts and dissemination of terrorist publications at a hearing at the Old Bailey.
Shaikh, a Muslim convert, had contacted someone who could prepare explosives and went on a reconnaissance trip to scope out the historic site and a hotel as locations to plant bombs. She prepared the words of a pledge of allegiance to the group, also known as Isis or Daesh, between August 2019 and October 2019. She also shared terrorist documents via groups using the Telegram messaging app over the same period.
The facts were not opened in court, but according to a prosecution case summary, Shaikh had stated her main aim was to kill as many people as possible in a suicide attack on St Paul's. She only confided her plan to two people, the online explosives expert and his wife, unaware that they were undercover officers.
The British defendant was born Michelle Ramsden to a non-Muslim family and converted to Islam in 2007. She began to follow extremists online and by 2015 had become radicalised, the prosecution alleged. The defendant, who wore a black robe, spoke quietly as she entered her guilty pleas before Mr Justice Sweeney at the Old Bailey.