2 Aug 2008

No verdict in London bombing case

11:04 am on 2 August 2008

A jury has failed to reach a verdict in the trial of three Britons accused of helping to plot suicide bombings in London in July 2005, the capital's worst peacetime attack which left 52 dead.

The jurors were dismissed and prosecutors must now decided whether to bring a new trial.

Mohammed Shakil, Sadeer Saleem and Waheed Ali were accused of scouting London for possible targets with two of the four young British Muslims who detonated homemade bombs in coordinated attacks on three underground trains and a bus.

However, the jury at Kingston Crown Court failed to reach a verdict on Friday on charges of conspiracy to cause explosions against the three men, the only people charged so far over the bombings.

Prosecutors said it was not immediately clear whether there would be a retrial.

The men were friends of the bombers Mohammed Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Jermaine Lindsay and Hasib Hussain. They knew them from the tightly knit area of Beeston in Leeds, northern England, attending the same Mosque and gym.

Although they were not accused of being directly involved in making the bombs or carrying out the attacks, detectives said the men had shared the same extremist beliefs.

The court heard that police discovered links between the men through mobile phone records, fingerprints connecting them to the bomb-factory in Beeston, family videos and surveillance.

Prosecutors said the three men were caught on surveillance footage meeting a "committed terrorist" and the court also heard they had admitted travelling to Pakistan for militant training.

In November 2004, Khan, the ringleader of the July 7 plot, recorded a farewell video for his baby daughter before heading off on a mission to Afghanistan where he expected to die, prosecutors said.

In the footage he introduces two of the bombers and Ali as his daughter's "uncles".

Police have always maintained that the July 7 bombers had assistance from other people with links to al Qaeda as they would not have had the technical expertise to construct the hydrogen peroxide-based devices themselves.