National

Terror ‘plotter’ feels shame, finds Christ

By AAP Newswire

A convicted terror-plotter says he only told his girlfriend he was carrying out a Sydney suicide attack to get her to marry him instead of a Turkish guy.

"I thought she would have felt sorry for me and accept my proposal," Sameh Bayda testified at his sentence hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday.

Rather than a suicide attack, the 21-year-old said he and three friends were planning a New Years Eve "extremist operation" involving using baseball bats to bash drunk non-Muslim people, then steal their money.

Bayda and Alo-Bridget Namoa, who married in an Islamic wedding ceremony on December 30, 2015, when they were 18, were found guilty in October of conspiring between early December 2015 and late January 2016 to prepare for a terrorist act.

The Crown said the couple had decided to do what they could to prepare for an attack on December 31, with the plot said to involve detonating an improvised device, an incendiary device or using a bladed weapon.

Their phones had contained a vast amount of extremist material, including graphic images and videos of beheadings and soldiers carrying Islamic flags, and communications to each other.

On Friday, Bayda said he felt ashamed and disgusted by his actions and had found Christ.

His barrister Alissa Moen took him through some of the numerous texts the couple exchanged in the lead-up to December 31, when he referred to carrying out an attack and dying.

"I knew I was about to lose her and she was about to marry this Turkish guy," he said.

Bayda said he managed to convince her he was going to do an attack, then continued to "string her along" and her replies encouraged him to carry out the suicide act.

Asked about Namoa referring to them as a jihadi Bonnie and Clyde, Bayda said at the time he had never heard of the couple.

He said possibilities for the "extremist operation" to be carried out by him and three friends included robbing a brothel, a bank and starting a bushfire using petrol.

He had seen extremist propaganda saying burning bushland would "waste the taxpayers money".

But the four men ultimately went out on New Years Eve with bats, saw a man and woman walking together, and stopped their car.

But Bayda said he couldn't get out as he froze and realised they were "innocent people" he did not want to bash, so instead the friends threw Molotov cocktails at a sign in a park, but they all missed the target.

"I honestly am ashamed of my behaviour," he said.

He was disgusted at having gone out with three other boys and only being minutes away from hurting people.

"I have brought shame to my family."

He now sees a prison chaplain and regularly reads the Bible.

"I believe in Christ, what he did on the cross," he said.

"It has helped me so much."

The sentence hearing will continue on December 14.