A British man who allegedly funded ISIS militants in the Philippines was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison yesterday after he was found to have planned a massive terror attack in London.
The Telegraph identified the man as Lewis Ludlow, 27, a former employee of the British postal service who called himself “The Eagle” or “The Ghost.” Ludlow planned to drive a van through Oxford Street, a busy shopping district, expecting to kill nearly 100 people in the attack. Ludlow said the idea for the terror plot allegedly came from an ISIS militant based in the Philippines, named Eyadzhemar Abdusalam, also known as Abu Yaqeen, reported the BBC.
According to Sun Star, Yaqeen is a suspected member of the Maute Group, a Mindanao-based terrorist organization which swore allegiance to ISIS.
Ludlow’s links with the Philippine-based terrorist was so strong that he even planned to visit the Philippines in February 2018, with the intention of moving to the country permanently.
However, Ludlow was stopped by the police at Heathrow Airport after he was suspected of planning to take part in terrorist acts in Zamboanga, an accusation which he denied. The authorities revoked his passport, which angered Ludlow. Despite that, Ludlow continued his communication with Yaqeen and even sent him money through PayPal, The Guardian reported.
Upset at being unable to move to the Philippines, and allegedly egged on by Yaqeen, Ludlow turned his attention to planning the Oxford Street attack, started reconnaissance work, and took several photos of different landmarks found on the road.
He also wrote several notes planning the attack, which he tore up. They were discovered by the authorities after they were thrown into garbage bins located near his home. The police also discovered his mobile phone in a storm drain which reportedly contained videos of him pledging allegiance to ISIS and photos from his recce of Oxford Street.
He was arrested on April 18 and pled guilty to planning the terror attack and for sending money to Yaqeen, the Telegraph said.
According to Ludlow’s court testimony, it was Yaqeen who allegedly suggested he plan a terror attack in London, telling him, “You have to kill them.”
Ludlow said he was scared and initially said no, but Yaqeen told him, “Don’t you want to die a martyr? They deserve it.”
Judge Nicholas Hilliard, however, dismissed Ludlow’s excuse during his sentencing and told him he was “nobody’s fool” and that the Philippine-based ISIS member did not force him to plan the attack.
“I do not regard you as suggestible or easily taken advantage of, ” Hilliard said. “You were an enthusiastic participant in a joint plan.”
Ludlow was also sentenced to seven years in prison for funding ISIS militants in the Philippines through Yaqeen. This will run concurrently with his 15-year sentence.
At present, Yaqeen is still in prison after he and his wife were arrested in June 2018 in Cagayan de Oro City for allegedly plotting to attack the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.