Manchester Pair Jailed for Terrorism Offences
Friday 15th July 2016 16:11 News Posted by Tom Greggan

Two men have been jailed for terrorism offences following an investigation by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.

23-year-old Abdalraouf Abdallah of Westerling Way, Moss Side, was found guilty of the preparation, commission or assisting acts of terrorism and funding terrorism.

32-year-old Stephen Gray of Whitnall Street, Moss Side pleaded guilty to committing acts of terrorism, being engaged in preparation of these acts, assisting acts of terrorism and funding terrorism.

They have been jailed today for a total of 18 years and six months following a trial held at Woolwich Crown Court.

Abdallah received a nine years and six months sentence, five and a half years of which will be served in custody and four years on license.

Gray received a nine year sentence, five years of which will be served in custody and four years on license.

The court heard how Abdalraouf Abdallah- a joint British and Libyan national- had been injured during the revolution against the Gaddafi Regime in August 2011, leaving him paralysed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.

He came to the UK for treatment and lived with family in Manchester, where he met Stephen Gray and another man, Ray Matimba, who he would successfully help to travel to Syria for the purpose of joining one of several terrorist organisations fighting in the region.

The prosecution believed his injury to be relevant to this case, as the evidence presented to the jury suggested that his injuries limited the actions he could personally undertake, and as such made him even more determined to assist in any way he could.

The investigation by the NWCTU revealed that he did so in several ways, predominantly by helping Gray and others to travel to Syria with the intent of joining one of the terrorist organisations fighting there.

The phones and computers seized from Abdallah’s house revealed a huge amount of contact between himself, Gray and others thought to be in Syria and Belgium via websites such as Skype.

A search of those seized devices indicated that he had been successful in sourcing automatic weapons, which would have been waiting for both Matimba and Gray when they arrived in Syria.

The investigation also revealed that he sent two thousand pounds, via his father, overseas to contacts fighting in Syria, hence the charges of funding terrorism.

Stephen Gray is a former RAF serviceman who was stationed in Iraq, before converting to Islam upon leaving the service in 2004.

He twice travelled to Turkey in the hope of then crossing into Syria and joining one of the terrorist groups fighting there.

However, despite the best efforts of Abdallah, Gray was twice turned back from Turkey, once in Instanbul on 5 July 2014 and again from the Bulgaria/Turkey border several weeks later, on 21 July 2014.

Warrants were executed at Abdallah’s address in August 2014, and the investigation – which began after NWCTU found out Abdallah’s brother Mohammed had travelled to Syria earlier that year – culminated in the arrest of both Abdallah and Gray in November 2014.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, head of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit said: “Abdalraouf Abdallah was very much a key part of the communication between this group of associates who travelled abroad with the intention of committing acts of terrorism.

“By regularly providing them with contact details and updates on each other, he supported their efforts to evade authorities and travel to Syria to continue their extremist lifestyles.

“Although he may not have been there committing these acts himself, his actions helped facilitate what they were doing and I hope his conviction will send a message to all those who are even considering offering a helping hand to terrorists.”

Any suspicious activity or behaviour can be reported to police via the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline by calling 0800 789 321. Extremist or terrorist content online can be reported at www.gov.uk/report-terrorism.