“Khan fell foul of his own low cunning and artifice."
Muhammad Gohir Khan, aged 31, of London, was jailed for life for a contract killing plot.
Kingston Crown Court heard that officers uncovered over 2,000 WhatsApp messages between Khan and his co-conspirator where they discussed and agreed to the contract killing of a Netherlands-based Pakistani blogger and activist.
It is believed the victim was targeted due to his public profile and outspoken political views.
Detectives found that Khan believed he stood to receive up to £80,000 for carrying out the murder.
During a police interview, Khan insisted that he never intended to carry out the killing.
He said he did not know who the victim was and that he was motivated to get involved in what they called “the project” in order to profit from an individual called ‘Mudz’.
But officers found that WhatsApp communications about the contract killing began on February 17, 2021.
Thousands of messages between Khan and ‘Mudz’ – also referred to ‘Ali’, ‘Zed’ and ‘Papa’ – detailing plans for the murder.
They discussed the price of the killing, the terms of the agreement, travelling to Rotterdam, the victim’s potential location, and his appearance.
Having agreed to the contract killing, Khan left London on June 7 and arrived in Paris, before catching a bus to Rotterdam.
Khan returned to the UK after he was unable to find the victim.
Upon his arrival at St Pancras International on June 23, he was greeted by police officers and stopped under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Border Officers in the Netherlands were concerned by Mr Khan’s nervous disposition and had communicated this to colleagues at St Pancras, leading to them stopping and speaking with Khan on his return to London.
However, Khan refused to provide his smartphone PIN.
He was arrested and his phone was seized.
Officers gained access to Khan’s phone, which led them to uncover the real reason for his trip to Rotterdam and his involvement in the conspiracy to murder.
On June 25, police searched Khan’s home and he was arrested again.
After further enquiries, Khan was charged on 28 June with conspiracy to murder contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Khan was found guilty of conspiracy to murder.
Commander Richard Smith from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said:
“The dedication and diligence of counter-terrorism officers, Border Force colleagues and our Dutch law enforcement counterparts led to justice being served in this chilling case of conspiracy to murder.
“Khan fell foul of his own low cunning and artifice.
“And the investigation found he was willing to carry out a murder for financial gain, giving no regard for his intended victim.”
“We were able to stop Khan from carrying out this murderous plot through cooperation with UK Border Force and our Dutch colleagues in the Rotterdam Counter-Terrorism, Extremism and Radicalisation (CTER) Unit who worked tirelessly alongside their SO15 counterparts throughout the investigation.
“Borders Officers at Rotterdam initially raised concerns over Khan as he was travelling back to the UK and following his arrest, and thanks to this vigilance and cooperation, our officers launched an investigation and were able to reveal his true intentions.”
Khan was sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 13 years.
Enquiries into establishing the identity and whereabouts of ‘Mudz’ remain ongoing, but detectives believe he may be a former business associate of Khan and goes by the name of ‘Muzzamil’.
Anyone with information regarding this person can contact the investigation team, in confidence, by calling 0800 789 321 or by contacting Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111.