A teacher accused of plotting terror attacks across London says he showed Islamic State videos in class give children a “more holistic” view of the group.

Umar Haque, 25, allegedly planned to target landmarks including Big Ben and Westfield shopping centre in 2016 and early 2017, and aimed to recruit youngsters to his extremist cause.

The Old Bailey heard how he showed children as young as 11 IS videos while working at the Lantern of Knowledge School in Leyton and Ripple Road mosque in Barking.

The defendant told jurors he later came to support IS and felt attacks on the West were justified, although he denied planning to carry any out.

Giving evidence, Haque described his "shock" when one of his students requested an IS YouTube video at the end of term during an incident in 2015.

He said: "During my Islamic studies lessons I would always play videos relevant to the topic. It was the end of term. The most well behaved of the class, I told them you can pick a video.

"I was shocked that he says 'Sir, I want to see an Isis video'. I said all right then. It was obviously not a good idea."

Haque said he played the video to give a "more holistic idea of what Islamic State are".

He described 2015 as an "action-packed year for Europe" with a lot of terrorist attacks, including one in Paris that left more than 130 people dead.

The teacher and former Newham Council worker claimed he had talked about them at school because they "sparked curiosity" among his students.

Haque said: "Whenever these events happened I would say to them, because we are not exactly sure what happened, maybe they are good, their intentions are good but the media is twisting things.”

By June 2016, he had concluded that attacks in the West were "justified" although he felt "heavy on the chest" about it, the court heard.

He told jurors: "I'm not happy to see bloodshed. I'm not a bloodthirsty person.

“The only reason why we agree with such attacks in the West is the fact the British government and the American government have killed thousands.”

Haque was born in the East End to parents of Bangladeshi descent and had been living in Forest Gate prior to his arrest.

He told jurors he became more religious around 2009 when he began listening to CDs of lectures by Al Qaida preacher Anwar al-Awlaki.

Haque is on trial alongside Abuthaher Mamun, 19, Muhammad Abid, 27, and Nadeem Patel, 26, who he allegedly recruited to the plot.

He has already admitted having records likely to be useful to a terrorist and a further charge of dissemination of a terrorist publication while teaching at Lantern of Knowledge.

He and Mamun are jointly charged with preparing acts of terrorism between March 25 and May 18, 2017.

Abid is accused of having information about Haque's plans and Patel is charged with plotting with Haque to possess a firearm or imitation firearm. The defendants have denied the charges.

Haque is further charged with preparing terrorist acts by leading exercises in physical training and "role play" with children and dissemination of terrorist publications.

Abid is accused of having information about Haque's plans and Patel is charged with plotting with Haque to possess a firearm or imitation firearm.

The trial continues.