Inmates shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they tried to kill prison officer, court told

Two prisoners wore fake suicide belts and shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they tried to kill a prison officer during a “terrorist attack” at a maximum security jail, a court has heard.

Convicted terrorist Brusthom Ziamani, 25, and radicalised inmate Baz Hockton, 26, set upon Neil Trundle with makeshift weapons at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire on January 9, the Old Bailey was told.

Opening their trial, prosecutor Annabel Darlow QC said the pair attacked “kind and helpful” Mr Trundle for “terrorist purposes”.

She said the defendants planned to “lure” a target to a store cupboard “on the pretext of asking a prison officer to fetch a spoon”.

Ms Darlow told jurors: “The attack on Prison Officer Trundle was carefully planned and executed using a number of makeshift weapons constructed from the limited materials available to two men being held in prison, including a homemade shank, lumps of twisted metal which had been covered in fabric to form grips, and two makeshift metal stabbing implements.”

Mr Trundle was targeted in his head, upper chest and neck areas which were “most vulnerable to attack” as he held his arms up and shouted for help, Ms Darlow said.

“When they carried out the attack they shouted Allahu Akbar – ‘Allah is most great’,” she told the court.

During the attack on Mr Trundle, a nurse and another prison officer attempted to intervene and and were attacked and injured by Ziamani, it was alleged.

Ziamani then immediately returned to the assault on Mr Trundle while Hockton chased and “violently confronted” another prison officer, the court heard.

When another officer approached, Ziamani opened up his jacket to expose the fake suicide belt, and said: “I’ve got a bomb,” jurors were told.

Ms Darlow said: “Both men strenuously and forcefully resisted all efforts to restrain them and after the attack Mr Ziamani attempted to barricade himself into his cell.

“It is the prosecution case that the defendants were motivated to commit the attack by extremist Islamic ideology. It was a terrorist attack.”

The prosecutor said Hockton had registered his Islamic faith at HMP Whitemoor but that had been “corrupted into extremism” and he had been radicalised.

Extremist writings were recovered from both men, including a four-page hand-written letter carried by Ziamani spelling out his “expectation of immediate martyrdom” and “strong belief in violent jihad”, jurors heard.

Material was also recovered from Hockton’s cell setting out his desire to become a martyr, the court was told.

The court heard Mr Trundle suffered cuts to his scalp, arm and shoulder and was left covered in blood with blood on the walls around him.

It took five or six officers to restrain Ziamani, who was laughing and muttering “Allahu Akbar” before the belt with wires coming out of it was cut off him, the court heard.

Asked about the belt, Ziamani allegedly told an officer: “I just wish it was real. It’s a suicide belt.”

The defendants were transferred to different prisons and their cells searched.

There were pieces of wire and plastic like those used to make the hoax suicide belt in Ziamani’s cell, jurors heard.

A note on a scrap of brown envelope about someone in uniform and sticking “a spike in his head like a unicorn” was allegedly found in Hockton’s cell.

The jury was told that Ziamani had previously been convicted of engaging in conduct in preparing for terrorist acts in relation to a plan to attack a member of the British military.

On August 19 2014, he was arrested in possession of a hammer and a knife, having told his ex-girlfriend that he was planning a terrorist attack and would “kill soldiers”, jurors heard.

Ms Darlow said Ziamani had told a security officer after his arrest that he planned to behead a soldier.

She told jurors: “The prosecution say that the evidence of the previous conviction shows he has a history of committing offences in which he looked to kill an officer of the British state for terrorist purposes.

“The prosecution say this is exactly what happened in the case, albeit transplanted from the outside world where Mr Ziamani has greater access to weapons and targets to the more limited confines of the prison environment.

“The prosecution contents that the ultimate intention of these defendants was to murder a prison officer.

“This is demonstrated by their painstaking and determined construction over what must have been a significant period of time of at least five metal weapons, the ferocity if the attack on Prison Officer Trundle and the deliberate concentration of the attack on his head, neck and upper torso and the immediate resumption of the attack on Prison Officer Trundle by Ziamani even whilst other officers were attempting to intervene.”

The defendants deny attempted murder and the trial continues.