The London Bridge terrorist used to walk around school with a picture of Osama Bin Laden attached to the front of an exercise book, it emerged yesterday.
Usman Khan was also spotted laughing at videos of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York with other religious fanatics in a cafe when he was just 14.
In the same year, he started preaching Islamic extremism on the streets of Stoke on behalf of Anjem Choudary’s banned terror group al-Muhajiroun.
Khan, who called himself Abu Saif, was photographed waving an Al Qaeda flag as he ranted into a megaphone.
The British-born son of Pakistani immigrants from the Kashmir region, he had three elder siblings – two brothers and a sister.
Usman Khan pictured brandishing an Al Qaeda flag as he shouts througha megaphone. The London Bridge terrorist was also found to have had a picture of Osama Bin Laden on the front of his schoolbag
Despite the hard-working ethos of his taxi-driving father Taj Kahn and his mother Parveen Begum, he left Haywood High School in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, with few qualifications. His weekly distribution of disturbing literature resulted in his family’s modest three-bedroom terrace home in the Cobridge area of Stoke being raided by anti-terror police when he was just 17.
Shortly after the raid, an indignant Khan said: ‘I’ve been born and bred in England, in Stoke-on-Trent, in Cobridge, and all the community knows me and they will know... I ain’t no terrorist.’ The teenager was investigated for promoting extremist views and radicalising vulnerable people.
But after a 20-month probe, the Crown Prosecution Service told officers they were unlikely to get a conviction with the evidence they had. Instead of acting as a warning, the lack of criminal charges against Khan simply emboldened him.
He vowed: ‘We are going to carry on until the last breath, because we believe this is the truth.’
The extremist was true to his word. He spoke at a conference about why Britain should adopt Sharia law and began a campaign to stage a highly inflammatory march through the town of Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire, where British soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan were honoured.
Although the protest never took place, his membership of Islam4UK – another of Choudary’s banned extremist groups – prompted the security services to launch a second covert surveillance operation on him in 2010.
Khan, pictured using a laptop
Bugs installed by MI5 in Khan’s home recorded him discussing how to make a pipe bomb after seeing a ‘recipe’ in an Al Qaeda magazine. He also called non-Muslims ‘dogs’, discussed buying weapons and spoke about attacking pubs and clubs in the Stoke area by leaving explosives in the lavatories.
Khan and two others, who called themselves the ‘Stoke Three’, contacted radicals in London and Cardiff on Paltalk, an internet messaging service.
The men, dubbed the ‘nine lions’, met at a Victorian boating lake in Wales to discuss how to train home-grown terrorists, embark on letter-bomb campaigns, blow up pubs and use a pipe bomb to kill and maim people at the London Stock Exchange.
Khan and others from his hometown became obsessed with the idea of setting up a terrorist training facility under the guise of creating a school on land owned by his family in Kashmir.
While the rest of the cell wanted to begin attacks immediately, the authorities were much more concerned about the sophistication displayed by the ‘Stoke Three’. During the subsequent trial, judge Mr Justice Wilkie found they were pursuing a ‘long-term and sustained path [to become] more serious and effective terrorists’.
After his arrest, Khan was the first to plead guilty to planning a terror camp, knowing he would get a reduction in sentence.
In 2012, he was imprisoned for public protection for 16 years but could only be considered for release if a parole board was convinced he posed no threat.
Mr Justice Wilkie singled Khan out from the other extremists on trial because he was clearly a devious and scheming man dedicated to his hateful ideology.
He wrote that Khan’s ‘ability to act on a strategic level’ and to cleverly plan for future terror attacks meant he should be released only if and when a parole board was convinced he no longer posed a threat.
But as soon as he was behind bars, Khan wrote a letter from his cell in Belmarsh prison in southeast London asking to