Jihadi Jack ‘no danger’ despite beheading comment, says mother
The mother of Muslim convert “Jihadi Jack” has denied he posed a “danger” despite his threat to behead a group of young British soldiers on Facebook.
Sally Lane, 57, told jurors people put “two and two together” and made assumptions about Muslim convert Jack Letts’ ideology after he travelled to Syria at the age of 18.
She said: “A white boy of Jack’s age going to Syria, they assume that.
“They would not have thought he may have been a young person who is naive and wants to see what is going on for himself, wants to seek the truth in his religion.”
Lane accepted she had a duty to report her son if he posed a “danger” to society, but insisted she did not think so.
Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC challenged Lane on extreme messages Jack was purported to have posted on Facebook, saying “the most appalling things”.
In July 2015, Jack’s former school friend Linus Doubtfire posted a picture on Facebook as he completed his Commando Artillery Course in the British Army.
A post from Jack’s account stated: “I would love to perform a martyrdom operation in this scene.”
Quizzed about it by his father John, he responded: “I admit it was wrong if I seemed like I was joking. I genuinely believe attacking the British Army is a very praiseworthy action when the intention is correct.
“I would happily kill each and every one of Linus Unit personally.
“This message for you, Mum and (younger brother) Tyler, I honestly want to cut Linus’ head off.”
Asked why she did not report it, Lane said: “We knew the police would have already seen it. We would not need to tell them about something they already knew about.”
Ms Morgan asserted the first police knew of the exchange was when they seized Lane’s phone and examined it.
Lane went on to insist she could not be sure the message was from her son, who sent a picture of himself posing in Raqqa, in Syria with one finger raised.
She said: “I think there was probably a lot of people using each other’s accounts and there was probably an exchange of information between them.”
She agreed that the message was consistent with someone with “very extreme attitudes”, conveying the intention to carry out a terrorist attack.
She insisted: “I think they are things that Jack would not say. Jack has never said anything violent before.”
However, Ms Morgan asked if she was sure about that as she pointed out another message in which Jack said police would “die in your rage soon” for raiding the family home in Oxford.
The lawyer rejected Lane’s claim the Linus Doubtfire post was someone else, saying the author even knew the name of the family cat.
She told the defendant: “This is ridiculous, you knew perfectly well this was Jack.”
Lane replied: “I had to consider the possibility it could be him but I had to consider the possibility it was not him.”
Former fundraising officer Lane and organic farmer John Letts, 58, are accused of sending or trying to send sums totalling £1,723 to their son even though they had every reason to believe he had joined Islamic State.
The couple, of Chilswell Road, Oxford, have denied three charges of funding terrorism.
The Old Bailey trial was adjourned until Thursday when Lane will continue her evidence.