Munir Mohammed
Asylum seeker Munir Mohammed (L) volunteered for a 'lone wolf' mission and drafted in the help of pharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan (R). Police handout

An Isis-supporting couple who met on a lonely hearts website have been found guilty of plotting a Christmas bomb attack on the UK and had researched using poisonous ricin.

Eritrean asylum seeker Munir Mohammed volunteered for a so-called "lone wolf" attack in a Facebook chat with a man he believed was an Isis commander in Syria.

The 36-year-old, who had spent time living in Sudan before coming to the UK, contacted pharmacist Rowaida El-Hassan, who advised Mohammed using her knowledge of chemicals.

Mohammed, from Derby, and El-Hassan, from north-west London, denied preparing terrorist acts between November 2015 and December 2016 but a jury found them both guilty.

The Old Bailey was told that Mohammed had amassed two out of three core components for triacetone triperoxide (TATP), the explosive used in Isis attacks including Paris and Brussels.

After he was arrested, police discovered he had downloaded manuals on how to make mobile phone detonators and ricin, a potent poison that can kill an adult with just a few grains.

The court was told how Mohammed investigated making poison while working at a supermarket ready meals factory, in a job he used false documents to secure.

Mohammed and El-Hassan met on and jurors were told they "rapidly formed emotional attachment and a shared ideology" before sharing extremist videos.

El-Hassan was said to have been well-aware of his plan after exchanging hundreds of WhatsApp messages and meeting in London.

The court was told how Mohammad had pledged allegiance to a Isis commander known as Abubakr Kurdi and offered to participate in "a new job in the UK".

Mother-of-two El-Hassan advised fellow her fellow divorcee on what chemicals to buy for a bomb before Mohammed was captured on CCTV buying nail polish that he mistakenly thought was a chemical component of TATP.

Mohammed also researched pressure cookers and bought hydrogen peroxide, which was found in a wardrobe, and hydrochloric acid, which was found in the freezer.

'Extremely dangerous'

Mohammed, who had arrived in Britain and claimed asylum in February 2014, was described by Det Ch Insp Paul Greenwood, who led the investigation, as "an extremely dangerous terrorist".

Sue Hemming, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said the couple were "clearly attracted to each other through their support for Daesh's violent ideology and its intolerance of those who do not subscribe to its views".

"They planned to kill and injure innocent people in the UK and had the mind set, the methodology and almost all the material needed for Mohammed to carry out an attack," she said.

"Both will be in prison, where they cannot plot together and will no longer be a danger to the public."

Judge Michael Topolski QC remanded the pair in custody to be sentenced on 22 February.

Greenwood, from Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: "It was only a matter of weeks after meeting each other that Mohammed and El Hassan had formed such a strong trust that Mohammed shared extremist material with her.

"This then rapidly escalated and El Hassan, a qualified pharmacist, readily passed on her knowledge to Mohammed giving him the technical assistance he need in preparing for a terrorist attack.