Well, here’s our old friend Mark Townley again. This time posing as a Jihadist. His story was plausible enough to have him arrested after ‘confessing’ to planning to kill Prince Harry. And to get the Sunday Mirror to cover it as real. Ashraf Islam is his latest nom de guerre.
After his arrest over the Harry threat, police found evidence on Islam’s laptop that he visited terrorist and weapons websites and had searched for “kidnapping”, “guns” and “vans”.
A source said analysis of his computers had found “overwhelming” evidence that he was “of the terrorist type”. At a hastily arranged Saturday court hearing in Uxbridge. West London, Islam pleaded guilty to threats to kill. He was remanded in custody while a date is fixed for sentencing at Isleworth crown court.
The charge carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence.
Soldier Harry’s personal security is now being urgently ramped up in the wake of the threat. It was already under review in the wake of Lee’s killing.
The BelTel, reports:
The Co Down man has also been known as Mark Hamill and Antonio Mendez and is now using the name Ashraf Islam following a decision to become a Muslim when he fled Northern Ireland over his latest scam.
Townley, using the name Antonio Mendez, was first convicted of fraud in Liverpool when he advertised bodyguard courses with the guarantee of security work in Iraq. Dozens of former soldiers paid a £250 registration fee, but when they turned up at an isolated Welsh beach they found there was no course and no sign of Townley.
He returned to Northern Ireland and set up a firm called National Task Force and proceeded to rip off youth, gymnastic and boxing clubs of thousands with the promise of mini buses and equipment. As his cheques bounced he fled to Dublin.
But the piece de resistance is this interview with Phillip Boucher Hayes back in November last year. As a ‘muslim convert’ one of his first projects on getting out of jail was to run a porno agency. The interview is very personal and very revealing…
As Mark McGregor noted on Slugger back in 2010, Townley has a pattern of dreaming up new scams every two years or so… But this latest has to be the most bizarre…
What’s much more worrying though is that this “overwhelming” evidence that he was “of the terrorist type” was not quite as a ‘overwhelming’ as it seemed at first sight.
A brief search of the internet, might have told police and journalists that this man is never quite whom he claims to be.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty