Skip to comments.Ten years for ricin plot leader
Posted on 06/30/2005 2:42:04 PM PDT by Valin
AN al-Qaida terrorist linked to the killer of Manchester police officer Stephen Oake has been jailed for 10 years in Algeria. Mohamed Meguerba, 37, who trained with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, was convicted of belonging to a foreign terror organisation.
British police believe he lived and worked in Manchester before he fled Britain in 2002. Meguerba stayed at the same house in Crumpsall where Kamel Bourgass later stabbed DC Oake to death during a police raid.
It was information provided by Meguerba, after his arrest in Algeria in December 2002, that first alerted police in Britain to a ricin plot in London. Meguerba told his interrogators that he and Bourgass had been making the poison in a flat in north London and keeping it in a skin cream jar. He claimed that they had planned to smear the poison onto door handles to spread terror in the capital.
Algerian authorities passed the information on to British security officials, who eventually raided a flat in Wood Green and found evidence to back up his claims. They also found passport photographs of Bourgass. When police raided a flat in Crumpsall Lane, Manchester, in an unrelated operation in January 2003, officers stumbled across Bourgass. DC Oake, a special branch officer taking part in the raid, was murdered by Bourgass. Investigators later found Meguerba's fingerprints at the flat and also his torn-up passport in a bin outside.
Bourgass was jailed for life after he was convicted of murdering DC Oake. Earlier this year he was convicted of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance by the use of poisons and explosives to cause disruption, fear or injury and jailed for 17 years. Meguerba is thought to have moved around Europe before arriving in London and attending the Finsbury Park mosque.
As a fluent French, English and Arabic speaker, he was able to travel and fit in easily. He is believed to have married an Irish woman in 1997. Meguerba is not officially wanted in connection with any charges in Britain and there are not believed to be any plans to request his extradition.
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