Page last updated at 01:02 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008

'Terrible death plan' of doctors

Bilal Abdulla and Mohammed Asha
Dr Abdulla and Dr Asha were both NHS employees

Two NHS doctors planned "murder on a terrible scale" with a series of car bombings across Britain, a jury has been told.

The men wanted to "kill and nothing else" in revenge for the invasion of Iraq, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC said they dreamed of grabbing headlines with improvised car bombs inspired by al-Qaeda.

Bilal Abdulla, 29, and Mohammed Asha, 28, deny car bomb attacks on London's West End and Glasgow Airport in 2007.

Summing up the prosecution case, Mr Laidlaw said only "fortune and fate" prevented the cars from causing carnage.

'Intent to kill'

He said: "This was to be murder and nothing else. It was to be murder on a terrible scale for the British public, both in London and Glasgow.

"It was to be punishment more generally for all of us in this country because of events in Iraq.

"These vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices were intended to kill and nothing else."

They planned to start the attacks in London's West End because it was the most heavily populated part of the UK and represented the kind of entertainment which extremists despised, Mr Laidlaw said.

He described Dr Abdulla's account of the Glasgow airport attack, in which he expected to be dropped off but ended up throwing petrol bombs, as like "Laurel and Hardy".

Frankly, who would have believed that doctors would involve themselves in this sort of murderous activity on the streets of this country?
Jonathan Laidlaw QC

"It was a breathtakingly arrogant performance from the first defendant in the witness box and it was insulting to each of us that had to listen to it," he said.

"The absurd explanation of the events in Glasgow would have been laughable had it not been that he and Kafeel Ahmed were trying to kill passengers in the terminal."

Mr Laidlaw said a series of phone calls, meetings and cash payments between Dr Asha and Dr Abdulla inextricably tied Dr Asha to the plot.

A third man, Indian PhD student Kafeel Ahmed, died from burns one month after the attack on Glasgow airport.

Dr Abdulla was accused by Mr Laidlaw of promoting his dead friend to the head of the conspiracy when in fact he himself was the mastermind and recruited the other men.

Mr Laidlaw said the jury might find it hard to believe doctors dedicated to preventing suffering could be terrorists.

"That would have been an argument that all of us would have found extremely attractive before this case began," he said.

"Frankly, who would have believed that doctors would involve themselves in this sort of murderous activity on the streets of this country?

"This case demonstrates, does it not, along with the change of tactics employed by terrorists elsewhere, that nothing can be taken for granted when you are dealing with extremists of this sort?"

Dr Asha and Dr Abdulla both deny conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions.

The trial continues.

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