Duncan Gardham – Telegraph.co.uk August 1, 2008
Waheed Ali, 25, Sadeer Saleem, 28, and Mohammed Shakil, 32, are the only people ever to be charged in connection with the bombings which killed 52 people.
The three men, all from Beeston in Leeds, were accused of conducting a "hostile reconnaissance" mission for the bombers seven months before the attacks.
They were joined by two of the bombers as they visited Kings Cross along with the London Aquarium and Natural History Museum, eight days before Christmas in December 2004.
Objects belonging to each of the men were also found in the flat used as a bomb factory in the area of Hyde Park, Leeds.
All three had also been on training camps in Pakistan with Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the bombers, the last just months before the attacks.
The jury of eight women and four men had deliberated for almost three weeks after a three month trial at Kingston Crown Court in southwest London. It is understood the prosecution will seek a retrial.
The prosecution had argued that Sidique Khan had left Britain with Shehzad Tanweer planning to die as a martyr in Afghanistan after making a farewell video to his baby daughter.
But once there he changed his plans and allegedly contacted his three friends asking them to check out London as a possible target for attacks.
They were joined by Hasib Hussain, the youngest of the bombers, and Jermaine Lindsay, who traveled to London from his home in Aylesbury.
Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting, had told the jury: "It is the prosecution case that, although these defendants may not have been the masterminds of the plan that lay behind the London bombings, they shared the same beliefs and motivation as the London bombers and so willingly and knowingly agreed to assist them in their preparations by carrying out a hostile reconnaissance."
He said the places they visited bore a "striking similarity" to the targets of July 7 and the trip was an "essential preparatory step" for the attacks.
But no CCTV had survived from the trip and the prosecution relied on mobile phone cell site analysis to show where the men had been.
The defence claimed the men were really on a "small adventure" to London, only visited Kings Cross to stay in a hostel, and never went onto the London Underground because they had a car.
They said they were joining Waheed Ali, one of the defendants, on a trip to see his sister in Limehouse, East London before he also left to fight in Pakistan.
While Ali went to see her, the others said they took in the Natural History Museum and were then joined by Ali the next day at the London Aquarium, before heading back to Leeds.
All three said they had fallen out with the gang in the months before July 2005.
Ali and Saleem said their DNA was taken to the bomb factory on objects lent to the bombers, including an inhaler, martial arts trousers, a rucksack and a beanie hat. Shakil's car key was also found.
Andrew Hall QC for Sadeer Saleem, warned the jury: "This man is no bomber. He was a friend of the bombers but someone who was in complete ignorance as to their intentions.
"He was a man in the wrong place at the wrong time and now caught up in a nightmare."
Last updated 04/08/2008