Members of a terrorist cell who dubbed themselves the “Three Musketeers” are facing years behind bars for plotting a Lee Rigby-style attack after a partly secret trial plagued by accusations of police corruption.
Two members of the gang, from the West Midlands, sought out infamous Islamic State supporter Anjem Choudary before they prepared to strike police and military targets on British soil.
They were arrested in August last year after MI5 went to bug the car of Naweed Ali, only to uncover a pipe bomb and meat cleaver hidden in a JD Sports bag.
Convicted terrorists Ali, 29, Khobaib Hussain, 25, and Mohibur Rahman, 33, who served time in prison together, denied preparing an attack.
They claimed the incriminating evidence was planted by undercover police officer Vincent, the boss of a fake firm called Hero Couriers.
Vincent was cross-examined over 12 days and repeatedly rejected the allegations.
After deliberating for more than 22 hours, jurors unanimously convicted the men of preparing terrorist acts, along with fourth defendant Tahir Aziz, 38.
As they were led from the dock, Rahman shouted out: “I hope you’re happy with your lies. Lying scumbags.”
Following the verdicts, Detective Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, head of West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “Today’s case was about four very dangerous extremists who were plotting to carry out a terror attack in the UK.
He described the claims against his team as “groundless”, saying: “I’m really proud of our officers; I’m particularly proud of our undercover operatives who were in an incredibly dangerous situation.”
Mr Ward called for more to be done in prisons to stop convicted terrorists such as the Three Musketeers plotting attacks on their release from jail.
The Old Bailey trial had heard that next-door neighbours Ali and Hussain and Rahman called themselves the Three Musketeers in an encrypted chat on the Telegram messaging app.
The four-month trial was held partly in secret in the interests of national security as two anonymous witnesses gave evidence behind closed doors.
Mr Justice Globe will sentence the men on Thursday morning.