The ex-girlfriend of Brusthom Ziamani has detailed his growing extremism and near-obsession with the killing of the soldier Lee Rigby.
The 19-year-old was convicted of preparing an act of terrorism on or before 20 August 2014, with his inspiration coming from the murder of Rigby the previous year. The Fusilier was attacked in May 2013 by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south east London.
Speaking to ITV anonymously, Ziamani’s ex-girlfriend explained that when she came back from holiday during their relationship, he told her that he had converted to Islam while she was away.
She said soon afterwards he began to say “surprising things” that made her worry.
“First of all, he would talk about the Lee Rigby case, saying how he understood why the killers done what they done,” she said. “He would say how he respected the killers and he used to laugh about it. Things that made me worry, made me think a normal person wouldn’t think that.
“It went on for a couple more weeks. He got more extreme, more extreme. He’d mimic the speech that the killer had done as a joke, and then he would talk about how he wanted Sharia law here. He pressed me into me joining in with him and converting as well.”
The girlfriend broke up with Ziamani due to his increasingly worrying behaviour, yet she still got the occasional death threat from him, saying “how he would wipe me out and how he didn’t care about the consequences of it.”
Sometime later, he visited his ex-girlfriend and told her that “the brothers were planning a terrorist attack,” with the target being a solider or member of the government.
“Then he showed me the knife and the hammer in his bag wrapped in the flag,” his ex-girlfriend explained.
When police arrested Ziamani on an east London street last August, they found him carrying a 12in (30cm) knife and a hammer in a rucksack, after he researched the location of army cadet bases in the south east of the capital.
He denied that he had a terror “tool kit” of a hammer, knife and flag at the time he was arrested last August, and said he needed weapons because he felt threatened after getting out of a credit card theft operation. Ziamani added that the black flag was packed just in case he was called to a demonstration at the last minute.
Speaking of her relationship with Ziamani, his ex-girlfriend said, “All I can say is just try your best not to get involved with the wrong people as it can happen so easily. I never thought it would happen to me in a million years, but it did.”
Ziamani will be sentenced on 20 March.