Jihadi Jack’s parents ‘contacted former terrorists to get son out of ISIS’

Jihadi Jack’s mother is ‘caught on CCTV wiring £200 to her son in Syria after visiting a Western Union branch in Oxford’

  • Sally Lane, 56, and John Letts, 58, accused of wiring cash to son Jack in Syria
  • Court heard they sought out ex-terrorists to try to get him away from ISIS
  • They also spoke to chairman of anti-radicalisation charity for advice 
  • Couple believed son, 23, ‘might be working as a translator for ISIS’ 
  • Lane and Letts, of Oxford, deny three charges of funding terrorism

Sally Lane, 56, and John Letts, 58, pictured, sought out ex-terrorists to try to enlist them to ‘get their son Jihadi Jack away from ISIS’, a court heard today

Jihadi Jack’s mother was caught on camera transferring £200 to her radicalised son in Syria from a shop in Oxford, a court heard today.

Jurors were today shown CCTV footage of Sally Lane, 56, wiring her son cash at a Western Union branch near her home.

She and Jack’s father John Letts, 58, are accused of sending their son £1,723, knowing the money could have been used to fund terrorism.  

Their trial at the Old Bailey heard they contacted former terrorists living in Britain in a desperate bid to get their son out of ISIS and away from the war-torn nation.   

The jury were told they sent told their son over Facebook messenger they had ‘contacts’ who could help him get out of the territory.

On 5 December 2015, Lane messaged her son, 23, saying: ‘We know people here who help Jihadists who went to Syria and Iraq and then found it wasn’t what they expected.

‘They are ex-Jihadists themselves. They might be able to help you.’

A different message from the same day said: ‘BTW if you are sincere in wanting to speak to committed Muslims who are ex-recruiters, etc, I can put you in touch with them.’

Both parents approached Hanif Qadir, the principal of Active Change Foundation charity which was set up to prevent radicalisation.

Jack Letts, pictured, 23, went to Syria in September 2014 and has denied being involved with ISIS

Jack Letts, pictured, 23, went to Syria in September 2014 and has denied being involved with ISIS

On December 11, before a face to face meeting, Lane sent Mr Qadir an email headed: ‘Helping Jack’.

The charity worker said he met them at the charity’s offices in Leyton, east London, and the couple asked him what role Jack had with ISIS.  

He told the court the pair had heard that all members of ISIS fought but were still ‘tearfully clinging to the belief he could be working as a translator or clerk’.

Mr Qadir said: ‘They did not say clearly who he was with, but it was kind of made clear to me that they knew he was with an organisation as an interpreter and he was helping out.

‘I think the parents and I assumed it was either ISIS or another organisation. It was not quite clear but what they assumed was he was an interpreter or an administrator for those who were arriving from Europe.

A still of CCTV footage from a branch of Western Union in Oxford shows Sally Lane wiring money to her son, known as 'Jihadi Jack' in Syria

A still of CCTV footage from a branch of Western Union in Oxford shows Sally Lane wiring money to her son, known as ‘Jihadi Jack’ in Syria 

‘I think I made it clear to them that he was a westerner with a good command of Arabic. 

‘Based on where he was, in Raqqa, it was unlikely he was going to go unnoticed and knowing ISIS and the other organisations – well he could be doing anything out there.

‘He could be involved in anything we did not really know.’

He added: ‘I recall saying to them whether he is an administrator or an interpreter it does not make it any better because he is part of a terrorist network.

‘I think they wanted me to give some understanding of how they can manage this.

‘They wanted help. I recall saying to them I will have to figure out where he is mentally, emotionally, physically, and how deep rooted his feelings are in this kind of network.

‘It was to ascertain as to where he is in his belief system- if there is any chance of him coming back or open to reformation basically.’

Asked directly whether he offered any thoughts on sending over money to their son, Mr Qadir told the jury: ‘I advised them that it would be wrong for them to send that money.

‘It is very hard sometimes for parents to accept that their son is involved in something bad or doing something bad.

‘On a number of occasions both parents broke down in front of me and understandably so.’

Letts , pictured, was captured by Kurdish forces while trying to escape Raqqa in 2017

Letts , pictured, was captured by Kurdish forces while trying to escape Raqqa in 2017

Earlier the court heard how the parents tried to convince themselves Letts could not fight because he had lost his glasses.

In a police interview at their home from 3 November 2015 Lane said she was worried because of her son’s short sight.

DC Michael Neath said: ‘Okay, that this individual had helped people before and in particular he had helped them sort of gain glasses and that is a concern of yours because Jack doesn’t see very well.’

Lane agreed to this and DC Neath continued: ‘And you told me when we were downstairs that Jack lost his glasses on the way in.

Lane replied: ‘Yeah, he did.

‘And we did kind of think well in a way it could work, I know this sounds daft, but it could make it work in our favour if he can’t see because if he can’t see then he can’t fight and maybe it would be to our advantage you know not to get him glasses but then I kind of thought that is ridiculous.

‘You need glasses for everyday life.

‘I mean all the times when I have tried to find out information about what he is actually doing there – piecing it all together it doesn’t add up to him being a fighter.

‘I mean we still think he is on the religious side of things not on the military side of things.’

Letts and Lane, of Oxford, deny three charges of entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism. The trial continues.

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