Streatham Terrorist Was Being Followed by Nine Undercover Cops When He Attacked

Sudesh Amman
Metropolitan Police

Radical Islamist terrorist Sudesh Amman was being followed and surveilled by a total of nine police officers while he carried out a bloody knife attack in Streatham last year after being released early from prison.

The first day of the inquest into the terrorist’s death at the Royal Courts of Justice revealed that at the time of the attack, which left two people injured with stab wounds, four police officers were following Amman on foot and a further five officers were conducting surveillance from vehicles close by.

The police watched as the previously convicted terrorist — clad in a camouflage jacket — entered the Low Price General Store, where he stole a knife from the shelves before bursting out onto the streets and starting to stab at random pedestrians, The Telegraph reported.

Two of the officers, referred to as BX87 and BX75, were just metres behind the terrorist as he began stabbing a woman in her back and a man in his right torso. One of the officers opened fire on Amman, shooting six times. However, only two rounds made contact.

Ultimately, the two officers were able to chase down and kill the terrorist, shooting him in the neck and abdomen. The officers were permitted to carry firearms five days prior to the attack after they witnessed him looking at knives in a shop.

The failure of the surveillance squad to prevent the attack was coupled with a failure of the UK legal system to keep Amman, who was a convicted terrorist, behind bars, releasing him just ten days before the attack.

The inquest heard that London’s counter-terrorism police had attempted to persuade the Prison Service to block his release after a note was found in Amman’s cell which “appeared to show a pledge of loyalty to the leader of Islamic State”.

Representing the coroner, Jonathan Hough QC told the hearing: “While in prison he appeared to retain an extremist mindset and appeared still intent on carrying out acts of violence on his release.

“He also seemed to feel he had celebrity status as a result of being convicted of terrorist offences.”

Three weeks before he was released, Amman was involved in a prison protest over the death of another inmate, resulting in him being placed in a segregated unit.

During this time, reports emerged that the terrorist had informed other inmates in Belmarsh Prison that he was “not finished with these non-believers yet”.

Representing the Amman family, Rajiv Menon QC argued that the prison authorities could have prevented his release from prison on the grounds of him pledging allegiance to ISIS.

The Prison Service, for its part, maintained that the offences committed by Amman “would not have justified an extension of the sentence”.

The prison governor at Belmarsh informed police that it would not be possible to prevent his release over the offences during the protest as it would have required an independent adjudicator to be brought in and that there was insufficient time to do so before his planned early release date.

The son of migrants from Sri Lanka who came to the UK in 1999, Sudesh Amman first came onto the radar of police after he was arrested in 2016 for attacking a fellow pupil at the Jubilee Academy in Harrow with a weapon.

He was later convicted of possession of cannabis and making threats with a weapon in 2017 after moving to Barnet Southgate College.

Finally, in 2018, Amman was arrested on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism after he was identified as having posted extremist material on the messenger app Telegram, where he also made threats against a gay rights activist.

The inquest into the death of Sudesh Amman is expected to last for at least two weeks.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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