2019-06-21 22:26:09 UTC
funding jihad terrorism
'Jihadi Jack' parents guilty of funding terrorism
21 June 2019
The parents of a Muslim convert dubbed "Jihadi Jack" have been found guilty
of funding terrorism.
John Letts, 58, and Sally Lane, 57, from Oxford, sent their son £223 while
he was in Syria despite concerns he had joined the Islamic State group.
An Old Bailey jury found the couple not guilty of sending him a further
£1,000 and could not reach a verdict on a third charge of funding terrorism.
The pair each received 15 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
In a statement read by their solicitor, they said: "We have been convicted
for doing what any parent would do if they thought that their child's life
was in danger."
Muslim convert Jack Letts left his home in Oxford at 18 for Jordan and
Kuwait for study and tourism.
In March 2015, police warned the couple they risked prosecution if they sent
their son money.
Then in September, Lane transferred money to an account in Lebanon after her
son insisted it had "nothing to do with jihad".
She told him: "I would go to prison for you if I thought it gave you a
better chance of actually reaching your 25th birthday."
Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said: "It was one thing for parents to be
optimistic about their children, and I do acknowledge he is your son who you
love very much.
"But in this context you did lose sight of realities."
He told the couple: "The warning signs were there for you to see."
He said that they were "intelligent adults" who set aside their suspicions
to "please your son".
In the statement read outside the Old Bailey, the couple said: "The fact the
jury acquitted us of some of the allegations makes it clear that the jury
accepted we believed that our son's life was in imminent danger."
They added that they had "tried to do the right thing" and co-operate with
police in a bid to get Jack home.
"But instead of helping us they used the information we provided to
In the statement, Letts and Lane said that "having escaped from Isis [Jack]
is now in limbo".
Jack has been detained for the past 18 months 1by the Kurdish-led YPG in
His parents said: "Jack is still a British citizen and we have pleaded with
the government to help us to bring him to safety, even if that meant he
might be prosecuted in the UK.
"We are committed to help Jack return home."
Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC had earlier said Jack's parents "turned a blind
eye to the obvious".
"Saying they wanted to help Jack is not a defence," she said.
"They had every reason to expect the worst; they just in fact did not want
to hear the truth."
She added Letts and Lane were repeatedly told by "numerous police officers"
not to send any money.
Letts and Lane were found not guilty of sending a further £1,000 in December
2015 and the jury could not reach a verdict on the couple sending £500 in
Jurors heard that in July 2015 Jack Letts spoke about wanting to decapitate
a former school friend on social media.
Linus Doubtfire posted a picture on Facebook as he completed his Commando
Artillery Course in the British army.
Jack then posted: "I would love to perform a martyrdom operation in this
During the trial the court heard the parents consulted an academic expert,
who said it was "highly improbable" Jack had not engaged in military
Jurors also heard Lane sent a message to her son which said it was "naive of
us to believe" Jack was not a fighter in Syria.
Det Ch Supt Kath Barnes said investigators had "huge empathy" for Letts and
Lane, and said the parents were "not bad people".
She added: "It's hard to imagine the kind of agony they must be going
through because of the choices their son made."
Letts and Lane criticised the government for their lack of action in helping
Jack, and others, return to the UK from Syria.
In their statement they said: "After more than two years in jail, Jack still
faces indefinite detention without being charged or tried for any crime.
"Effectively there is no government policy for British citizens, including
children, trapped in Syria."
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: "As long-standing FCO
travel advice states, HMG [Her Majesty's Government] does not have a
consular presence in Syria from which to provide consular support."
The spokesperson added that anyone who chose to travel to Syria was "putting
themselves in considerable danger".