Bradford terrorism trial: Police accused of “evidence error” during home search

Muhammed Saeed Ahmed (left) and Muhammed Naeem Ahmed

Police investigating two Bradford brothers suspected of plotting to leave England for a “terrorist training camp” have been accused of making “an error” in recording evidence found during a raid on the duo’s family home, an Old Bailey jury was told yesterday.

Muhammed Saeed Ahmed, 21, and Muhammed Naeem Ahmed, 20, are said to have been preparing to flee their home, having been ”radicalised” by their brother-in-law Muhammed Shafaraz Ahmed – who pleaded guilty earlier this year to an offence of preparing for acts of terrorism.

After lengthy surveillance, police stormed the Little Horton property – the full address of which cannot be disclosed for legal reasons – and began to take photographs in the defendants’ attic bedrooms, showing what they said was evidence of suitcases being packed with camouflage t-shirts and under-armour thermals – needed for tackling extreme climates as part of their training.

However, the brothers’ father said his two sons were instead due to travel to Bangladesh the following day for a family visit. The brothers deny a charge of conspiring together and with others to attend a place used for terrorist training.

Detective Constable Robert Douglas told the jury how the suitcase in Saeed’s bedroom was “overflowing” – although there was no photographic evidence or record of that in the officer’s witness statement, the court heard.

Defending the older brother, Andrew Hall said the photographic evidence – which also included images of items having been placed in a range of different locations in the room – was “misleading” after police said photographs were only taken following an initial “safety search” of the room which caused certain items to be moved – another procedure not mentioned in the witness statement, the court heard.

Mr Douglas said: “The nature of the search is that things are often moved around.

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“I can recall during the safety search, it (the suitcase) was absolutely overflowing with garments. It is entirely possible they may have been placed back in there (from another position in the bedroom) to facilitate the taking of the photograph.”

The jury heard there were at least three members of police staff in the room during the search, which lasted for more than 12 hours, while the two men were in custody.

Mr Hall said: “I suggest that in the act of three of you moving around in this room, an error has been made in relation to these items. They are likely to be on the bed, and not in the suitcase.”

The detective said he disagreed, and added: “If I have made an entry (on an evidence recording back) saying it was in the suitcase, it was in the suitcase.”

Mr Douglas said he “didn’t see the importance” of taking a picture of the overflowing suitcase at the time, which Naeem Ahmed’s counsel, Imran Khan, said was being packed with both men’s clothing.

Mr Khan said: “I put it to you that the suitcase was not full by any means. What the jury have seen in the photograph is more accurate than you say now.”

Mr Douglas refuted the suggestion.

The brothers have admitted 11 counts between them of collecting or possessing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

The trial continues.

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