A WOULD-BE bomber who plotted to target a mosque after becoming fixated on the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena attack has been jailed for four years.
Steven Bishop (pictured above), 41, was told detonating one or more of the fireworks he had stockpiled, which were the type used in professional pyrotechnic displays, ‘may have risked the lives’ of those near the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, south London.
Bishop, who has mental health and drug problems, had researched detonators and the mosque before his room in sheltered accommodation was raided by counter-terrorism police. Detectives found fireworks that had been tampered with, along with fuses, a remote control and igniter.
Bishop had repeatedly searched online for memorials to eight-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos, the youngest victim of the Manchester terror attack, and donated to an emergency fund.
He commented ‘god bless little Saffie’ on a Facebook video that featured victims of the Manchester attack, adding: ‘Don’t worry, something bad is going to happen soon mark my words.’
Kingston crown court heard he told police: ‘I heard the voice of a victim of the Manchester Arena bombing who told me to do this.’
Bishop denied preparation of an act of terrorism but admitted possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or damage property on the first day of his trial. He previously admitted possession of information likely to be useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism. His barrister, Timothy Forte, said his actions were driven by his fixation on Saffie-Rose and there was ‘no expression of anti-Islamic feeling’.
Judge Peter Lodder QC told Bishop: ‘The incendiary effect of one or more of these fireworks could have caused significant damage to the building and nearby infrastructure.’