Mohammed Rehman was given a minimum term of 27 years, while his now ex-wife Sana Ahmed Khan was told she must spend at least 25 years behind bars.
A jury unanimously found the couple guilty of preparing of an act of terrorism in May this year.
The judge told Rehman his conversion may have been linked to his “disaffection” from his family and the wider community. He added: “Once you had gained that mindset, I am satisfied that you determined to fulfil the Islamic State’s call for Jihad; not like some, by travelling to Syria or elsewhere to take part in the conflict in those areas, but by carrying out an act of terrorism within the United Kingdom.
“The type of act which you envisaged not only encompassed the use of explosive substances which would be used to maximum effect so as to cause multiple injuries and fatalities, but specifically included a suicide bombing; an act which envisaged martyrdom, a notion specifically resurrected by Islamic State in order to encourage this type of venture.”
Ahead of the hearing, Khan had sent the judge a letter saying that she divorced Rehman a couple of weeks previously and should have “distanced myself from him a long time ago” but did not have the strength to do it.
In rejecting the sentiments in the letter, the judge told Khan: “Although I do not consider that it is likely that you were initially attracted by the excitement which appeared to be offered by engagement with the actions of Islamic State, I am satisfied that it was you who became interested in the theological justification of its aims, and thereafter encouraged Mohammed Rehman to pursue its ideology.”
The court had heard that going by the name of the Silent Bomber, Rehman went online in May to ask Twitter users for suggestions on which target to choose – Westfield shopping centre or the Tube.
With money from Khan, he stockpiled the chemicals needed to make a huge bomb at his family home in Reading. He even filmed himself setting off a small explosion in his back garden.
The couple were “motivated and inspired in their actions by violence and extremist Islamic ideology”, particularly to Islamic State, prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC told the sentencing hearing. The repeatedly researched the 7 July bombers online.
Counter-terrorism officers foiled the plot after an undercover investigator spotted Rehman’s tweet about potential targets.