- Irfan Naseer’s own mother called him a ‘mummy’s boy’
- He and Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, wanted ‘to rival 9/11’
By ANNA EDWARDS
This is the ‘mummy’s boy’ deemed too fat to be a suicide bomber who wanted to kill thousands of people in a UK terror attack worse than 7/7.
‘Big’ Irfan Naseer, 31, is facing life imprisonment after being convicted of planning the biggest terrorist atrocity the UK has faced in generations.
The 23-stone chemist, who plotted to plant eight rucksack nail bombs in crowded places around the country and was the ringleader of a gang who wanted to turn Britain into ‘a war zone’.
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Mummy’s boy: Pictured when he was younger, Irfan Naseer was branded a class joker – but years later plotted evil attacks on the UK
But behind his fanaticism, his own mother called him a ‘mummy’s boy’ and his school friends branded him a ‘joker’ and ‘idiot’ as he tried to entertain them in the playground by rapping.
Nicknamed ‘Chubbs’ at school, one ex-classmate, said: ‘He used to write his own rap music and perform it to us. It had us in stitches. He was the class idiot.’
Another former friend said: ‘In about 2008 or 2009 he cut all ties with his old school friends.
Irfan Naseer, nicknamed ‘Chubbs’ began plotting bombing attacks across the UK
‘Never in a million years did we think he could be responsible for such an evil plan.’
He was one of the ‘four lions’ gang and it was bulky frame that helped him to work on his bomb-making skills while at training camps in Pakistan.
He was too overweight to go on physical training exercises, and admitted he was mixing chemicals rather than ‘running up and down the mountains with weapons’.
Naseer gained an A at A Level chemistry, and honed his skills during a four year pharmaceuticals course at Aston University in Birmingham, coming out with a 2:2 degree in 2003.
He barely worked afterwards and spent his time showing his fellow terrorists how to make a bomb out of sports injury treatments.
His fascination for science first began during experiments at school while studying for GCSE chemistry classes, when the teacher showed him how to distil chemicals with a Bunsen burner.
‘When I was doing my GCSEs, one of the teachers did an experiment where he had a Bunsen burner and he threw a chemical on to the fire’, he told the court.
‘It caused a massive flame which blackened the roof, and that kind of got me into it.’
After a raid on the group’s headquarters in Birmingham, Naseer had chemistry textbooks left over from his university days on his book shelves in his bedroom, mixed in with a Jihadi flag and terrorist handbooks.
Ashik Ali and Irfan Khalid were found guilty of planning a string of bombings that prosecutors said could have been deadlier than the July 7 attacks in London
He had also searched repeatedly online for bomb making tips and details of how to concoct homemade explosives.
Among his Internet search history was a website containing the Anarchist’s Cookbook.
Big Irfan admitted in court he had spent eight-and-a-half years memorising the Koran, from the age of 19.
He wanted to treat himself to a quad bike in the run up to his martyrdom and was overheard telling his fellow plotters: ‘It’s good fun, yeah, but I wouldn’t do it on the road – that’s not befitting, bro.
Irfan Khalid and Irfan Naseer (right) were ‘central figures’ in a terrorist bomb plot they planned to inflict across the UK
The trio funded the plot by pretending to be Muslim Aid charity street collectors
It was Naseer’s bulky frame that helped him to work on his bomb-making skills while at training camps in Pakistan
Charity funded terror: The men posed as fundraisers for a Muslim charity (left) then used the cash to pay for bomb devices such as this alarm clock (right)
‘A guy with a beard and that sitting on top of that doesn’t look good.’
Irfan Naseer, 31, Irfan Khalid, 27, and Ashik Ali, 27, all from Birmingham, were convicted on Thursday of plotting the ‘spectacular campaign’ designed to claim as many lives as the 2005 London Underground bombs that killed 52 innocent people
The trio, who met at school and called themselves the Four Lions after the black comedy film by Chris Morris, even funded the plot by pretending to be Muslim Aid charity street collectors.
BRITISH BOMBERS FAMILIES KNEW OF ‘TRAINING’ MISSIONS’
Police received no intelligence from the Muslim community in Birmingham about the terror cell, even after relatives of four of the gang discovered they had travelled to Pakistan.
The only time police were contacted about any of them was over an allegation of aggressive fundraising, concerning their charity street collections.
The lack of information raises questions over Prevent, the Home Office’s strategy to combat violent extremism, which has police community engagement at its core.
Detective Inspector Adam Gough, senior investigating officer in the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit, said the extended families of Ishaaq Hussain, Shahid Khan, Khobaib Hussain and Naweed Ali ‘became aware’ the men had gone to a terror training camp when Khan called home.
Although the families immediately pressured them into returning, none contacted police.
Police and security services were aware the four were travelling, and they had been recorded talking about getting their families into paradise through their martyrdom.
But officers decided against stopping them at that time to preserve the surveillance operation.
According to detectives, none of the men received any terror training as they left the camps after a day.
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said that while the ‘ideal’ scenario would have been for the relatives to inform police of what had happened, the families had ‘tried to do their best to bring them back and stop them from getting into harm’.
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