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Last Updated: Monday, 30 April 2007, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Profile: Waheed Mahmood
Five men have been convicted at the Old Bailey accused of involvement in a planned bombing campaign in Britain. One of them was Waheed Mahmood, who the trial judge said "exerted authority over others".

Waheed Mahmood
Born 22 March 1972
Lived in Crawley, West Sussex
Aliases included Abdul Waheed, Esmail, Javed or Jav
Between 1989 and 1995 he worked for British Gas, servicing and repairing boilers in customers' homes
Trained as an apprentice in the gas industry but later worked in a tile shop, where he gave a job to Omar Khyam
Around the time of the conspiracy he worked for a contractor undertaking work for National Grid Transco

Waheed Mahmood, the oldest defendant, was a key player in the conspiracy - but also one of the few who took steps to prevent his discovery.

When police searched his address in Crawley, West Sussex, they discovered he had unscrewed his computer hard drive.

The trial heard very little about Mahmood's personal life apart from that he was married and had children.

Mahmood did not testify in his own defence, but his barrister, Michel Massih QC, sought to persuade the jury this was not symptomatic of a general secretiveness or a refusal to co-operate.

Mr Massih pointed out the only direct evidence against Mahmood was the testimony of supergrass Mohammed Babar, an American who met the British conspirators in the UK and in Pakistan, and the comments from his own client's mouth, recorded by MI5 surveillance teams.

But Mahmood's callousness was laid bare in a conversation recorded in March 2004.

Some of the victims of the Madrid train bombing
Spain was a beautiful job weren't it, absolutely beautiful man, so much impact
Waheed Mahmood

A few days after the 2004 Madrid bombings, which killed 191 people, he was overheard saying: "Spain was a beautiful job weren't it? Absolutely beautiful, man, so much impact."

On another tape he raised the idea of bombing the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent on a Saturday.

He was heard saying: "I don't know how big it would be, we haven't tested it, but we could, tomorrow - do one tomorrow."

He also suggested pitching a burger van on a street corner and selling food laced with poison, and then just vanishing from the area.

Pakistan connection

Waheed Mahmood first met Omar Khyam, the man at the centre of the conspiracy, at the local mosque and separate radical political meetings in Luton.

Waheed Mahmood's Pakistani house
Gujar Khan home: Mahmood's property used for key meeting

Those meetings were organised by al-Muhajiroun and were popular among young men angry with the way they saw Muslims being treated around the world.

Mahmood also had a family home in Pakistan.

There in 2003 he met many of the conspirators and other young men eager to fight the US in Afghanistan, or at the very least offer support. And it was at his family home in Gujar Khan that he first suggested targeting the UK.

In his evidence at the trial, Mohammed Babar said: "Waheed... didn't understand why all these UK brothers were coming to Pakistan and wanting to fight in Afghanistan when they could easily do jihad operations in England."

Returning to the UK, Mahmood took a job with Morrisons Utility Services, a contractor for the National Grid running the electricity and gas system.


Mahmood had worked for years in the gas industry, having trained as an apprentice.

But it became more sinister in the light of Babar's evidence.

He told the Old Bailey: "Everybody was talking about operations regarding the loss of life, but in his [Mahmood's] estimation, they could have a different objective, like economic damage.

"He started to list operations against utilities where there would be no loss of life.

"It would cause millions of dollars worth of damage and affect the economy of the country."

But Mahmood was not content simply with economic terrorism.

Babar said: "Waheed went on to list other examples. If someone could get a job at a soccer stadium and be the beer vendor and used some poison in a syringe, then put it in a can and put a sticker over it and then just hand it around."

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