One of the suspects in the murder of soldier Lee Rigby is believed to have had contact with a "terrorist instructor" now in prison for running military-style training camps which were used by Islamist extremists including the 21/7 London bombers, the Independent has learned.
Michael Adebolajo is understood to have attended talks given by preacher Mohammed Hamid, who called himself Osama bin London, at a bookstall run by Hamid in Marble Arch, central London.
There is nothing to suggest that Adebolajo was engaged in activities at the time which warranted tracking him during a period of intense militant Muslim activity.
Hamid, a 55-year-old former crack addict, was convicted of "grooming" young Muslim men for jihad. At his trial in Woolwich Crown court in 2008, the jury was played secretly taped recordings of him talking about the victims of the 7/7 bombings, saying: "Fifty-two? That's not even a breakfast for me," and telling a comrade to be like "Jack the Ripper" and not get caught.
Video film was shown of a water melon being sliced in half amid cheering, in what was supposedly a demonstration of "beheading".
Hamid, whose family came to Britain from Tanzania, was found guilty at the trial of three counts of soliciting murder and three counts of providing terrorism training, and jailed for a minimum of seven-and-a-half years. One of his followers, Atilla Ahmet, of Turkish Cypriot extraction, who had been a bodyguard for the radical cleric Abu Hamza, pleaded guilty to three counts of soliciting murder.
Among those who passed through the camps in Cumbria and the New Forest were five men who were later convicted of the failed bomb plot of July 21, 2005. Hamid was accused of acting as the mentor of the would-be suicide bombers.
Hamid and 14 others were arrested and convicted in an operation in which evidence was gained by an undercover police officer who had infiltrated the group, as well as by bugs placed by MI5 in the homes of the suspects.