The respectable businessman by day who was a bomb-making jihadi by night

“The respectable businessman by day who was a bomb-making jihadi by night… and how his mass-murder terror plot was foiled by two IT guys,” by Dan Sales, Mailonline, March 26, 2023:


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For families in the playground opposite Asad Bhatti’s home, the financial analyst working at Legal & General looked like any other businessman in his suit and tie.

But the 47-year-old bachelor –  whose CV bragged was ‘motivated by challenge and responsibility’ – hid a secret life as a bomb-making terrorist.

Largely anonymous in his commuter town of Redhill, Surrey,  Bhatti was known as an intelligent University of Greenwich graduate. So bright, he had applied for Mensa.

But, behind closed doors he had attempted to get a gun licence and used his back garden as a testing place to make nitro-glycerine.

And, less than eight miles away next to a leafy playing field he hired out a storage unit where he fashioned a would-be bomb factory.

When police raided it they found over a hundred items including chemicals, electronics and equipment.

An improvised explosive device had to be dismantled by a specialist explosive ordnance disposal team. It was fortunately not viable due to the materials used to make it.

A 173-page word document called the Believer’s Handbook penned by Bhatti was also found on his computer. It detailed his warped worldview and how to make explosives and bombs.

Bhatti was arrested and charged in January 2021 and last week was found guilty of two counts of possessing an article for the purpose of terrorism.

He was also convicted at the Old Bailey of three counts of making or possessing an explosive substance under suspicious circumstances contrary to Section 4 of the Explosive Substance Act. He faces sentence next month.

If not for the bravery of two men, his activities may never have been discovered.

When Bhatti turned up at repair firm Computer Solutions in Caterham in the week before New Year’s Eve 2020 he looked like any other customer.

He made technicians ‘swear’ they would not look at his data when he took it in for repairs because it was running slowly.

Bhatti said he would wait in the small store, despite owner Glen O’Dwyer explaining that it was not possible because the job would take hours at least, possibly up to a few days.

Normally the shop does not look at clients’ data, but Bhatti’s device had failed so badly that a manual data recovery was required. It meant file names would flash onto a screen.

Mr O’Dwyer glimpsed one file called ‘How to make nitro-glycerine in your kitchen’, an explosive powder.

He scrolled through files quickly and would pause every few minutes on increasingly suspicious items.

The 55-year-old, who set the store up 28 years ago, saw titles on jihadist martyrdom, several instructions on how to make detonators and a mobile detonator, and documents on guns and firearms….

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