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Terrorism

British man admits to terror plot aiming to kill 100 people on London’s Oxford Street

Lewis Ludlow, who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State, pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in November

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 August, 2018, 4:31am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 August, 2018, 4:37am

A man has pleaded guilty to a terrorist plot to drive a van into shoppers outside a Disney store on Oxford Street in London, with the hope of killing 100 people.

Lewis Ludlow, 26, pledged allegiance to Islamic State and was caught by a joint police and MI5 operation. Ludlow, from Rochester in Kent, pleaded guilty on Friday at a pre-trial hearing.

He had researched how to carry out the attack, targets, hotel accommodation and van rental options. The planned attack, where a vehicle would be driven into a crowd, was reminiscent of two atrocities in London in 2017 at Westminster Bridge and London Bridge.

Before his arrest in April, counterterrorism investigators searched bins at Ludlow’s home, where they recovered ripped-up notes containing details of his planned attack. The notes named targets and said he hoped to murder 100 people.

A mobile phone was dredged from a storm drain at Ludlow’s home before he was arrested. It contained hostile reconnaissance photos from a trip to London in March and an oath of allegiance to IS.

The phone also had videos on it featuring Ludlow in which he talked of his hatred of unbelievers and described himself as an IS soldier, calling himself “the Eagle”.

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Prosecutors accepted that he could not drive and would need other people to help him carry out the plot.

Ludlow will be sentenced in November and faces a long prison term. He was a former follower of Anjem Choudary, the terrorist propagandist and preacher who helped motivate at least 100 young people to turn to terrorism in Britain and Europe.

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Ludlow pleaded guilty to planning the attack and also to funding terrorists overseas. He was also charged with trying to join Islamic State in the Philippines, which he denied. That charge will not be pursued after his guilty pleas.

In one note, Ludlow said of Oxford Street: “It is a busy street, it is ideal for an attack … It is expected nearly 100 could be killed in the attack.”