Scotsman : Shop worker recalls suspect buying jars

Monday, May 05, 2008

Shop worker recalls suspect buying jars

By Elizabeth Barrett | April 23, 2008

A SHOP worker told a court yesterday how he wrapped up four glass measuring jars purchased by an alleged member of a terrorist cell.

Arafat Waheed Khan allegedly bought the items alongside syringes and needles during a visit to John Bell & Croyden pharmacy in Wigmore Street, central London, on 26 July, 2006.

Khan is one of eight men on trial at Woolwich Crown Court accused of conspiring to murder thousands of people by exploding home-made liquid bombs disguised as soft drinks on passenger jets in August 2006. The prosecution claims materials were purchased by members of the gang as part of their plot to blow up the aircraft.

Taking the stand, Showkoth Uddin recalled how police visited the store on 16 August, 2006 and that he provided a statement about the transaction.

Asked by Khan's defence counsel Helena Kennedy if he appeared a typical customer, he said: "He wanted plastic ones [jars], but the glass ones were quite expensive, he wasn't sure. At one point he hesitated and got out his phone and said he wasn't sure what she'd want."

Probed on how he remembered a single transaction, he added: "Slowly it started hitting me, we don't usually get sales of four of these glass jugs, maybe one a month."

On being told Khan did not use a mobile on surveillance footage, Mr Uddin later clarified his initial comments.

He said: "All I can remember is that he said 'I'm not sure what she wants' and that he touched his pocket."

The defendants are: Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27; Assad Sarwar, 27; Tanvir Hussain, 27; Mohammed Gulzar, 26; Ibrahim Savant, 27; Arafat Waheed Khan, 26; Waheed Zaman, 23; and Umar Islam, 29.