LONDON (Reuters) - A British Muslim convert who told police he wanted to kill Prince Harry was jailed for three years on Monday after pleading guilty to threatening murder, police said.
Ashraf Islam, 31, was told by the judge who sentenced him at Isleworth Crown Court that his plan had been "vague and unlikely to succeed", but he nevertheless posed a danger to the public, according to reports in British media.
Islam, formerly known as Mark Townley, had wanted to kill the fourth in line to the throne, whom he believed "had blood on his hands" after military tours to Afghanistan.
The plan was to disarm a bodyguard and use his gun to shoot the Prince.
Islam handed himself in to police in May last year the day after drummer Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich.
His barrister, Roxanne Morrell, told the judge that Islam had given himself up and volunteered information about his plot.
Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson said: "This was not a threat made in isolation.
"The examination of your computer revealed you conducted research on his [Prince Harry’s] whereabouts and intentions.
"You had given the matter considerable thought.'
"The reason behind that is that you thought he and other serving officers had some moral guilt, and you thought you had a moral right to judge.
"I accept that there is nothing here that could be described as professional plans as to your expressed intentions."
But the judge said police would have intervened had Islam, who has previous convictions for dishonesty and for involvement in an attempted robbery, attempted to carry out his plan.
The judge said he considered a longer sentence, but said it would have been deemed 'excessive'.
After he went to police, officers searched his hotel room, where he had just checked in after flying into London from Thailand, and seized his laptop. They found no weapon. Islam, originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland, had no fixed abode at the time.
Media reported that Islam had said he felt he had a "moral right to judge" Prince Harry, a captain in the British army, because he disagreed with the actions of the military.
Prince Harry, grandson to Queen Elizabeth and fourth in line to the throne, has carried out two tours of duty in Afghanistan, the most recent as an attack helicopter pilot.
Islam's defence lawyer told the court he had a personality disorder, according to media reports.
Islam made the threat on the day after soldier Lee Rigby was murdered in broad daylight by two British Muslim converts on a busy street in southeast London close to an army barracks.
News of the killing and its aftermath dominated British media headlines for days. The killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, were convicted of murder on December 19 and will be sentenced on February 20.
(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Mark Heinrich)