A man from Holland Close in Redhill, identified as Asad Bhatti, has been found guilty of two counts of possessing an article for the purpose of terrorism and three counts of making or possessing an explosive substance under suspicious circumstances, according to Section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Section 4 of the Explosive Substance Act, respectively. The verdict was reached on Wednesday, 17 March, at the Old Bailey.
The investigation was initiated after Bhatti had taken his computer in to be fixed at a shop and a staff member discovered concerning file titles, which were then reported. Upon further investigation by officers from Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE), documents were found suggesting that whoever was using the device had an interest in explosives and making explosive devices.
Following this discovery, Bhatti was arrested, and a search was carried out at his home in Redhill and at a storage container he rented. Chemicals, chemistry equipment, electronic circuitry, and even an improvised explosive device were found in the storage unit, but it was dismantled by a specialist explosive ordnance disposal team, as it was not deemed to be functional due to some of the materials used. At his property, items including a USB stick containing guides to make explosive devices were seized.
Bhatti was also found to be in possession of manuals he compiled and wrote himself. He had spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations on making explosives, shooting techniques, and hand combat, along with manuals published by others on making explosives and combat. This led investigators to believe that Bhatti’s possession of all these documents was for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation, or instigation of an act of terrorism.
In a statement, Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright, Head of CTPSE, said: “The case against Bhatti was strong, I am glad the jury have found him guilty today. There was clear evidence of his extreme Islamist ideology and the danger he posed. He clearly hated those whom he considers do not follow his version of Islam, and he made a range of derogatory comments towards those he considers to be ‘unbelievers’.”
Bhatti will be sentenced on Tuesday, 25 April, at the Old Bailey. Detective Chief Superintendent Wright expressed gratitude to the member of the public who recognized the risks and took steps to call the police, which allowed Counter Terrorism Policing to stop Bhatti’s progress in manufacturing explosive devices that could have caused significant harm to the public.