B.C. terror plot charges 'surreal,' suspect’s brother says
Published Wednesday, July 3, 2013 9:37AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 3, 2013 11:25PM EDT
The brother of a man accused of planning to bomb the B.C. legislature on Canada Day says the alleged terror plot is “surreal” and difficult to believe.
John Nuttall’s brother, who did not want to be identified, told CTV News that he was shocked by the allegations laid out by the RCMP on Tuesday.
Police allege that Nuttall and Amanda Korody, who lived together in Surrey, conspired to plant pressure-cooker bombs near the B.C. legislature as crowds gathered to celebrate the national holiday.
The pair is charged with conspiring to place an explosive in a place of public use with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury; knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity; and being in possession of an explosive device.
The RCMP said it had been tracking Nuttall and Korody since February.
Police revealed little about what they had learned during their investigation, but did say they believed the two were “inspired by al Qaeda ideology” and were “self-radicalized” without support from terror groups abroad.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Wayne Rideout told reporters that during the five-month investigation, the suspects discussed a variety of targets and plans.
Nuttall’s brother said the suspect was always a “generous” person who loved music and playing the guitar.
He said the two had lost contact for about a year and a half and by the time they reunited, Nuttall had converted to Islam. He also spoke Arabic, his brother said.
However, worshippers at a Surrey mosque said they never saw Nuttall or Korody.
“I didn’t know my brother anymore. All of a sudden, he completely changed. He was a completely different person,” Nuttall’s brother said.
Still, “I could never see my brother wanting to kill innocent people – ever,” he said.
More clues emerged Wednesday about the kind of life Nuttall and Korody led in Surrey, where they had rented a basement suite for about three years.
Their landlord, Shanti Thaman, said they appeared to subsist on social assistance. Last week, they asked for an extension on their $650-per-month rent, the landlord said.
A glimpse inside the apartment revealed a messy living space, littered with bottles of methadone and other prescription drugs. A television set appeared to have been used for target practice.
It appears that Nuttall had a history of drug abuse.
Little is known about Korody, but one former classmate told The Canadian Press she was originally from Ontario.
One acquaintance, Ashley Volpatti, said the Nuttall and Korody are “really, really nice people, really caring.”
Tom Morino, a lawyer who represented Nuttall in 2003 when he was charged with assault and robbery, told The Globe and Mail that Nuttall had converted to Islam a few years ago. He said Nuttall was mostly self-taught and didn’t appear to be affiliated with any particular sect or mosque.
The RCMP have suggested that the alleged terror plot was driven more by a desire to cause mayhem than religious beliefs.
"The ideology had to do with a criminal act, wanting to pursue criminal acts on behalf of an organization that they believed in, and that organization and the ideology behind that organization as you know it is the al Qaeda ideology," Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said.
RCMP assured reporters Tuesday that they had been aware of the pair’s plans for some time and that there was no danger to the public because at some point, law-enforcement officials intervened to ensure the bombs they were building could not have exploded.
“The devices were completely under our control. They were inert, and at no time represented a threat to public safety,” Rideout told reporters.
The pair made a brief court appearance on Tuesday and their case was put over until July 9.