Lewis Ludlow, 26, from Rochester, Kent, admitted to police that he coverted into Muslim and prepared terror attack.
He had planned to hire a van and hit pedestrians on Oxford Street as well as targeting Madame Tussauds and St Paul’s Cathedral, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.He is due to be sentenced on 2 November at the Old Bailey.Ludlow, who also used the name Ali Hussain, had hoped to kill up to 100 people.
A spokesman for the CPS said Ludlow had been under 24-hour armed police surveillance.
He first came to the attention of police in 2010, when he attended a demonstration led by radical preacher Anjem Choudary and his banned Al-Muhajiroun group.When Ludlow was arrested in 2015, Islamic State group material was found on his electronic devices but no further action was taken.
In January Ludlow bought a ticket to fly to the Philippines but he was stopped at the airport.He claimed he was going to the country as a sex tourist. but was found to have been in communication with a man named Abu Yaqeen in an area with a significant IS presence.
In March, Ludlow sent him money via PayPal and created the Facebook account Antique Collections, which he was alleged to have used as a front to send money to south-east Asia for terrorism.On 16 March, Ludlow went online to establish whether there was a police station on Oxford Street, before setting out to take pictures of the shopping area.
He took a picture near to the Oxford Circus Tube station and then a second one outside the Disney store.Later, he photographed Madame Tussauds and a bus shelter map of the area around the tourist attraction.
The images were stored in an encrypted application on his phone shared among IS supporters.
When police searched Ludlow’s home, they also found torn-up notes detailing when the targets would be the busiest.The first note read: “Madame Tussads . Oxford street busiest time between 11 – 12 particularly Fridays. St Paul’s Cathedral. Shia temple… Further locations scouted for the Kil .”A second read: “Crowded London Areas, Oxford Street – long road with no bollards or barriers preventing a van mounting the pavement. Busiest time is between 11am – 12pm with Saturday being the busiest day.
“It is a busy street it is ideal for an attack. It is expected nearly 100 could be killed in the attack.”Two further notes referred to accommodation and van rental.
The CPS spokesman said: “A mobile phone belonging to Ludlow was found in the storm drain of his home and contained photographs he had taken in March on a trip to London.
The phone also contained videos in which Ludlow stated his hatred of unbelievers and his desire to establish Sharia law.
Ludlow also pleaded guilty to setting up Facebook and Paypal accounts which he used to fund fighters based in the Philippines, the CPS said.
He had been previously questioned by police about his links to Anjem Choudary and the banned Al-Muhajiron group. Counter-terrorism officers had seen him attend demonstrations organised by the group. He was seen with or near Anjem Choudary and one of Lee Rigby’s killers.
Ludlow also admitted raising funds for terrorist purposes but denied preparing a plan to travel to the Philippines to join jihadists there. That charge will remain on file.