- A British man charged with planning an attack said he had been to Syria, court hears
- Defendant Erol Incedal had documents on how to build a bomb, prosecution says
- Incedal denies two charges; a second defendant has admitted to one charge
- Police say Incedal had the address of a property belonging to former UK PM Tony Blair
A British man charged with planning either a "Mumbai-style" terror attack or an attack on a prominent person said in secret recordings that he had been to Syria and reveled in the idea of being labeled a terrorist, a court in London heard Thursday.
Erol Incedal, 26, is accused of preparing terrorist acts with the intention of committing terrorism, and of having documents on how to build a bomb.
He denies the charges against him.
Police first detained Incedal, a British citizen of Turkish descent, over a traffic violation in London in September 2013. During a search of his car, they found a piece of paper with the address of a property tied to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair written on it.
Police planted a secret listening device in Incedal's E-Class Mercedes before releasing him.
The recordings have been revealed this week at Incedal's trial, which will be partially held in secret. While the judge has allowed some reporting of its opening phases, journalists and members of the public will be barred from observing other parts of the trial.
The prosecution says the recordings from inside Incedal's car give "a flavor" of the law student's frame of mind in the weeks before he was arrested again in October of last year and formally charged.
In one clip, Incedal and his associate Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar claim to have been in Syria. "In Syria, the weather was ...," Rarmoul-Bouhadjar says, before Incedal interjects with, "Wallahi, it was like minus-20 degrees because we were on a mountain!"
"Another word, 'terrorist.' That's a great word, Mounir. There's never been a greater word than that to describe us," Incedal tells Rarmoul-Bouhadjar in another clip.
The jury also heard recordings of Incedal and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar purportedly using code words in a discussion about buying a gun.
Incedal told his partner: "Update me at every stage and just say 'yeah the sausage is nice, there's enough sauce in it.' "
"What's the sausage?" Rarmoul-Bouhadjar asks. Incedal replies: "Bullets. If there's not enough sauce in it, you'll have to make that decision if we're gonna take it or not. If it's less than five, it's not worth it."
In another clip, the pair appear to be discussing the quality of their potential purchase. "It is only about a grand, so I don't think it is going to be a great quality," says Incedal. Rarmoul-Bouhadjar asks, "It fires?" Incedal replies: "Mmm ... it's not a replica."
In another recording, Rarmoul-Bouhadjar appears to suggest to Incedal that he should leave his wife.
"I think you should separate," he tells Incedal. "She has mentally become unstable."
"Do you know what I'm worried about now? She knows some of our secrets," Incedal replies. "She don't know much but she knows I was, like, in trouble. ... I'm not saying it's going to happen, but she might just chat s**t."
Police finally decided to swoop in on October 13, 2013. Specialist firearms officers stopped the pair in east London and shot out the tires of Incedal's car to prevent an escape. They arrested both men and seized several iPhones and other mobile phones from the car, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors say Incedal's iPhone had a number of images on it, including an image of a YouTube page for a song called "O Islamic State" and an image of a page of titles by Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical U.S.-born cleric who was killed by an American drone strike in late September 2011 in Yemen.
Both men's iPhones concealed an SD card between the phone and the phone's protective case. Both SD cards contained three identical files, including a "Car Bomb Recognition Guide" and a "bomb making" Word document, parts of which were considered "viable" but also incomplete, the court heard.
Incedal and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar communicated via email and Skype, using code words and aliases to refer to the words "Kalashnikov" and "Mumbai-style," the prosecution said.
More than 160 people were killed in November 2008 when 10 Pakistani gunmen associated with the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba stormed buildings in Mumbai, India.
Rarmoul-Bouhadjar has already pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a document that could be used in a terror attack.
Officers searching Incedal's south London home also found a document on top of a wardrobe referring to a "Plan A" that appeared to be a checklist for an operation involving "three to four workers," "two tennis rackets," "one months' surveillance," and renting a flat nearby, Prosecutor Richard Whittam said.
Incedal's wife, Kadeejah Baluch, was home at the time with Incedal's three children and another child. Police also searched a second address in west London that Incedal had failed to disclose to police at the time of his arrest. That search turned up a laptop with Incedal's DNA all over it and several Nicolas Cage DVDs, among other things, the court heard.
It is unclear when the alleged terror plots were to be carried out. But during an argument with his wife that was captured by the police listening device inside his car, Incedal says: "I'm never going to be around for very long anyway ... at least my last few months of life, I'll live with peace of mind."
The trial continues at the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court.