Jihadi Jack & # 39; s parents are found guilty of financing terrorism by sending money to their son in Syria
The parents of a Muslim convert named Jihadi Jack are jailed after being found guilty of financing terrorism.
Organic farmer John Letts, 58, and former Oxfam fundraising officer, Sally Lane, 57, refused to believe that their 18-year-old son Jack had become a dangerous extremist when they allowed him to travel, the Old Bailey heard.
The Oxford couple ignored repeated warnings that he had become a member of the Islamic State in Syria and sent – or attempted to send – a total of £ 1,723 for him, despite telling the police not to do that three times.
Prosecutor Alison Morgan, QC, said the Oxford couple & # 39; turned a blind eye to the obvious & # 39; – that their son had joined the murderous terrorist group by the time they sent £ 223 in September 2015.
The defendants claimed that their son, who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, was imprisoned in Raqqa and by December 2015, trying to send more money, they were acting under & # 39; coercion & # 39; for fear that he is in danger of death.
John Letts and Sally Lane arrive in Old Bailey today for the verdict
A jury deliberated for nearly 20 hours to convict the suspects in September 2015 of one indictment of terrorism, but did not commit the same indictment in December 2015.
Jury members were fired after they were unable to decide on a third indictment regarding an attempt to send money in January 2016.
Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said the Crown would not ask for a new trial and asked the indictment to lie in the file.
There were bites in the public gallery, but defendants did not respond in the dock.
The court heard that Jack Letts left the parental home in May 2014 and started what his parents saw as a & # 39; grand adventure & # 39; to learn Arabic in Jordan.
Jack Letts in Syria. His mother and father were tried for allegedly financing terrorism
Before his departure, a friend of the teenager had tried to warn his parents about his growing extremism and urged them to confiscate his passport.
From Jordan, Jack Letts moved to Kuwait and married Asmaa, the daughter of a tribal elder, in Iraq before continuing to Syria.
Lane told jury members that she & # 39; shocked & # 39; was when he called her to say that he was in Syria in September 2014.
She said: & # 39; I shouted to him: & # 39; How could you be so stupid? You're being killed. You will be beheaded & # 39;. & # 39;
Jack Letts, also known as Jihadi Jack, in Raqqa
John Letts begged his son to come home and said to him: "A father should never live to see his son buried."
He accused him of being a & # 39; pawn … spreading hatred, pain, anger, suffering and violence, & # 39;
At the beginning of 2015, the police raided the family's house and warned the suspects not to send property or money to their son.
Jack Letts ran over it to his parents and said the police would "die in anger".
In July 2015, he posted on Facebook that he had a & # 39; martyrdom operation & # 39; wanted to perform on a group of British soldiers, and threatened to behead his old school friend Linus Doubtfire, who had joined the army.
When he was challenged by his parents, he said: & I would like to personally kill every Linus unit … I honestly want to cut off the Linus head. & # 39;
Mrs. Morgan said it was & # 39; ridiculous & # 39; was to claim that the message was posted by someone else using the Jack Letts account, because he even knew the name of the family cat.
At that time, Lane admitted that her son had received a message that it was & # 39; naive of us to believe & # 39; that he was not a hunter.
The suspects also consulted an academic expert who told them that the & # 39; highly unlikely & # 39; was that Jack Letts was not engaged in military activities, the court heard.
Despite the increasing evidence, Lane sent £ 223 after Jack Letts gave her his word that the money & # 39; had nothing to do with jihad & # 39 ;.
In July 2015, Jack posted on Facebook that he had a & # 39; martyrdom operation & # 39; wanted to perform on a group of British soldiers, and threatened to behead his old school friend Linus Doubtfire, who had joined the army
The police followed a second warning and told Lane that sending money to Jack is the same as sending money to Isis.
But in December 2015, Jack Letts began to report that he would like to leave Syria and told about a & # 39; great deception in the state & # 39 ;.
John Letts told a family member that Jack Letts was desperate to get out & # 39; and in & # 39; danger & # 39 ;, and he was advised to send him money to leave.
The advice was quickly corrected and the defendants received a written notice that said: & # 39; The police do not approve or give permission to Jack Letts to pay money. & # 39;
The couple in the lawsuit during the trial they have proven
Lane told her son: & # 39; We know you are in danger, so we feel we have no choice but to help and send you. & # 39;
But when she asked him to spell the danger he was in, Jack Letts replied: & # 39; Define danger. & # 39;
She continued to try two money transfers that were blocked and the defendants were arrested.
John Letts refused to testify, but his lawyer Henry Blaxland QC told jurors that the prosecution was inhuman and cruel.
He said: & # 39; These parents have lost their son in every way. They have to do with the trauma. & # 39;
The jury was not told that father-of-one Jack Letts, now 23 years old, is being held by Kurdish authorities in northern Syria accused of being a member of IS.
Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes said the conviction sends a clear message and adds: & # 39; It is not up to us to choose which laws to follow and which not and when it is OK to break the law. & # 39;
She said that researchers have a & # 39; huge empathy & # 39; had for the Letts family, and added: “Basically John Letts and Sally Lane are not bad people.
& # 39; It's hard to imagine what kind of pain they have to endure because of the choices their son has made. & # 39;
Jack Letts & # 39; journey from football fan to Jihadi
After Jack Letts had traveled to Syria, he became almost unrecognizable from the crazy football boy who had always slept with his football.
The eldest of the two sons of Sally Lane and John Letts, Jack struggled with obsessive compulsive disorders and Tourette & # 39; s at school, were told jury members.
His British-Canadian father described him as an & # 39; attractive & # 39; young man who & # 39; engaging and humorous & # 39; used to be.
At the age of 16, he converted to Islam and changed his football obsession for religion.
He attended jury members at the Bengal mosque in Cowley Road, Oxford, before coming into contact with men with a more radical ideology.
His friend, Anwar Belhimer, told his father that he & # 39; troubling things & # 39; had said and urged him to confiscate his passport.
But when he was 18, his parents supported his decision to study Arabic abroad and left for Jordan and Kuwait.
Hence he married an Iraqi woman named Asmaa and they had a son, Muhammed.
Despite warning signs, Lane was shocked when he said he was in Syria in September 2014.
The court heard he was probably helped by a group of hunters from Portsmouth to travel to the territory of the Islamic State.
He was & # 39; disrespectful & # 39; towards his parents in a series of heated e-mail exchanges, but they never gave up on their son and were willing to go to jail to save him.
Jury members were not told during their trial what had become of their son, only that he was alive and was now 23 years old.
It can now be reported that he has spent the last two years in a prison in Kurdish Rojava, in northern Syria.
The British government has said it has no consular assistance in the region.
Meanwhile, in a voicemail for a BBC journalist, Jack seemed to support their unremitting efforts.
Despite his parents' prominent campaign for his return, he told a BBC reporter: "Frankly, the whole idea of putting pressure on the British government to come and rescue me was not something I wanted to do or something that I wanted to do I thought it was smart. & # 39;
Jack seemed to change his mind in a more recent interview with ITV in February.
He said: & # 39; If the UK would accept me, I would go back to the UK, it's my home. But I don't think that will happen. & # 39;
The 23-year-old, who has scars from an air raid, said he missed his mother, pies and Doctor Who.
He also admitted that his experience in Raqqa had made him think that the 2015 terrorist attack in 2015 was a & # 39; good thing & # 39; used to be.
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