UK

PhD student guilty of making drone to deliver chemical weapon for terrorists

Mohamad Al Bared has been told he may face a life term when he is sentenced (West Midlands Police/PA)
Mohamad Al Bared has been told he may face a life term when he is sentenced (West Midlands Police/PA) Mohamad Al Bared has been told he may face a life term when he is sentenced (West Midlands Police/PA)

A PhD student has been found guilty of designing and building a “kamikaze” drone capable of delivering a bomb or chemical weapon for so-called Islamic State (IS) terrorists.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court deliberated for around six hours over two days before unanimously convicting Mohamad Al Bared, who used a 3D printer to make the unmanned aerial vehicle at his Coventry home.

The mechanical engineering graduate, of Kare Road, was found guilty of a single count of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts to benefit a proscribed terrorist organisation.

The drone made by Al Bared for use by terrorists
The drone made by Al Bared for use by terrorists The drone made by Al Bared for use by terrorists (West Midlands CTU/PA)

Al Bared was remanded in custody and told he may face a life term when he is sentenced on November 27.

The 27-year-old denied being a supporter of IS or its aims, having told jurors he had no plans to assist it in any way and that he made a drone for his own research purposes.

Al Bared, who was studying at Birmingham University and specialised in laser-drilling, also claimed to have researched IS to argue against its aims with others at a mosque.

But prosecutors said it was clear from encrypted online chats and other digital material that he supported IS, intended to make a “single-use” video-transmitting fixed-wing drone for terrorist purposes, and to travel to Africa via Turkey.

Adjourning sentence after Al Bared was convicted of preparing for terrorism between January 1, 2022 and January 31 this year, Judge Paul Farrer KC said: “The court is going to have to consider whether the appropriate sentence is one of life imprisonment.

“You have been convicted of an offence of the utmost gravity.

“A long prison sentence is the inevitable consequence of that but the length and nature of that sentence is a matter for careful consideration, and the court will take that decision having received input from the Probation Service.”