British man happy to fight ‘biggest threat since Hitler’, court told

A British man wrote of his joy at fighting against Islamic State, describing the group as “the biggest threat the world has seen since Hitler”, a court has heard.

Aidan James, 28, from Formby, Merseyside, had no previous military knowledge when he allegedly set out to join the bloody war in 2017 on behalf of the Kurdish people.

The father-of-one is accused of receiving training from the Marxist group PKK, before going on to fight with Kurdish YPG units – or “People’s Protection Units” – in Syria.

On the second day of his Old Bailey trial, the jury was shown a series of Facebook pictures of James posing with YPG insignia wearing military garb.

In a December 2017 diary entry, he allegedly described the worsening situation.

He allegedly wrote: “The situation with Turkey continues to worsen the war is long from over but I am playing my part in this war and feel good to be a part of history and with the revolutionary force of YPG.

“Daesh is the biggest threat the world has seen since Hitler so anything I can do in these operations is good.”

An image posted to Facebook by Aidan James in August 2017 of himself
An image posted to Facebook by Aidan James in August 2017 of himself (Crown Prosecution Service/PA)

In an earlier handwritten entry, James allegedly wrote that he was “waiting for Daesh to give me the opertunity (sic) to fire”.

He described his group’s “quest to vanquish Daesh from this place and send the rechid (sic) souls straight to hell.”

He told how he got “a kill” that day and was “very happy to get rid of another rat”, the court heard.

Jurors were also shown a photograph of a black Islamic State flag with the caption: “This is the evil flag of the worlds enemy ISIS, Daesh. IS flag (took) from a window in Deir Ezzor by me. F*** Daesh!!”

Facebook post of Aidan James in August 2017 of himself holding plane tickets
Facebook post of Aidan James in August 2017 of himself holding plane tickets (CPS/PA)

On Christmas Eve, James allegedly posted a new profile picture on Facebook in which he referred to a region in Syria in a Christmas greetings message.

It stated: “Merry Christmas friends and family back home in the UK. Lots of love from us here in Rojava xxxx”

The court heard how a police negotiator was in email contact with James, promising to support him and discuss his return to Liverpool.

As he made moves to go home, James wrote in his diary of the “amazing time” he had fighting on the “front line numerous times”, killing Islamic State soldiers, being shot at and even “chilled with a donkey”.

The court heard he finally returned to Liverpool John Lennon airport on February 14 last year on flights via Baghdad, Amman and Amsterdam.

In a written statement, James’s mother told how her son had twice tried to join the British army and twice been turned down.

Tracey O’Connor said he was 19 years old when he first applied.

She thought it was a good idea to provide “stability” and “hopefully keep him on the straight and narrow”.

But James was rejected because of his health and when he reapplied received the same outcome, the court heard.

James denies engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts and two charges of attending a place used for terrorist training.

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