VANCOUVER â€” The prosecution in the Canada Day bomb plot played the first surveillance video featuring one of the two accused bombers from Surrey, John Nuttall in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday.
He was 38 at the time, on methadone – synthetic heroin – and haltingly told the undercover Mountie about his ambitions to kill in the name of Allah.
"I live second to second, knowing at any moment like, it wouldn’t surprise me if the cops came up and stuck a gun in the window and blew my head off right now, it wouldn’t surprise me at all," he said.
"For me, it’s either jail or Jannah (paradise). Know what I’m saying?" Nuttall and his common-law wife Amanda Korody have pleaded not guilty to four charges related to a plan to slaughter as many as possible by exploding three pressure cooker bombs at Legislature celebrations on July 1, 2013.
Prosecutor Peter Eccles has portrayed the pair as a "homegrown terrorist cell" calling themselves "al-Qaida Canada."
Korody, too, was a heroin addict on methadone during the months-long sting that led to the couple’s arrest after planting dummy explosives in Victoria.
Nuttall looks far different in court: clean-shaven and sporting a Marine-style haircut, wearing a white shirt and dark suit.
At the first day of testimony, the Mountie who is central to the case explained how in Feb. 2013 he befriended Nuttall.
Later, the corporal – who cannot be identified or described in any way by court order – said he met Korody and cultivated the struggling, troubled recent converts to Islam by pretending to be a connected Arab businessman with jihadist sympathies "who could get things done."
The officer did not explain why he targeted Nuttall, but when he asked Nuttall to help find a make-believe missing niece: "He was right away, ‘Yes, ready to help.’" Nuttall took the man around the Surrey neighbourhood, gave him advice on where rebellious teenagers might hang out and, with that entrance, the Mountie insinuated himself into Nuttall’s life.
"He wanted me to be his friend, basically," the cop said.
Although some 40 hours of surveillance recordings were made in stores, cars, hotel rooms and elsewhere in Metro Vancouver and Victoria, there are no recordings of the initial meetings between Nuttall and the officer.
In the April 26 surveillance video, Nuttall expresses a general desire to commit Jihad, plays an al-Qaida video, quotes bin Laden, discusses how to build improvised explosive devices and provides the officer with a diagram for a bomb.
He claims to have obtained the plans from the same extremist Internet site as the Boston Bombers, who struck April 15, and that his wife could buy a pressure cooker for a homemade explosive.
"As long as she’s not wearing a hijab, they’re not going to put two and two together," Nuttall added.
The Mountie said Nuttall talked about killing an acquaintance he thought had been in the U.S. military and killed Muslims, as well as a plan to build rockets and attack a military base.
"He never did anything because we didn’t let him do anything," the officer added.
The RCMP channelled him to the Legislature, the Mountie said: "We were in control of the Legislature so we took him only to the Legislature."
Inside a Plexiglas dock, the petite, darkhaired Korody, wearing a green shawl over her head, sat impassively making notes.
Nuttall, a tall man in a separate dock about three metres away, at one point drew a heart on a piece of paper and held it up to her while miming affection.
The trial continues.