'Jihadi Jack's parents sent money to son in Syria despite fears he had been radicalised', court hears
The parents of a Muslim convert dubbed Jihadi Jack “took the law into their own hands” by sending money to their son in Syria despite fears he had been radicalised and was living under Islamic State, the Old Bailey heard today.
Organic farmer John Letts, 58, and his wife Sally Lane, 56, allegedly wired hundreds of pounds to their son Jack Letts in spite of “clear warnings” the money would end up funding Islamic terrorism.
Opening the trial today, prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said the couple had “taken the law into their own hands” and ignored a series of warnings not to send money to their son in Syria.
“The defendants are the parents of a man called Jack Letts”, she told the jury.
“It is alleged that in 2015 and 2016, the defendants sent or attempted to send money to him at a time when they knew or had reasonable cause to suspect that the money would or might be used for the purposes of terrorism.
“They knew or had reasonable cause to suspect that because it was clear from the information available to them at that time that Jack Letts had joined Islamic State and was in Syria.”
Ms Morgan said the couple, from Oxford, are “not alleged to be terrorists - they have not been in trouble with the police before.
“It is not suggested that the defendants supported the ideology or actions of Islamic State, nor that they sent the money to provide positive support to Islamic State.
“However, they sent money to their son, with knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect that it might be used by him or others to support terrorist activity, or that it might fall into the hands of other people who would use it for that purpose.”
The court heard Jack, now 23, converted to Islam at the age of 16, and his parents were “supportive” but concerns about his wellbeing including how he was coping with obsessive compulsive disorder.
Mrs Lane paid for her son to fly to Jordan in 2014 despite a suspicion he wanted to “fight in Syria”, and a friend at the mosque Jack had been attending had urged Mr Letts to confiscate his son’s passport after concerns about his radicalising beliefs.
Ms Morgan said the friend noticed “worrying things” and organised a meeting between father and son, which was “a clear warning to the defendants about Jack’s radicalisation and his intentions, before he even left this country.”
The prosecutor said the amounts of money allegedly sent to Jack Letts are “not vast” and told jurors they may “understand the desire of any parent to support their children”.
But she said they had been warned by the mosque friend, academics they sought out for advice, a charity worker, and a string of police officers against sending him money.
“It is inevitable that you will have sympathy for them as parents of a man who took himself to Syria, against their wishes”, she said.
“The law applies equally to them as it would to anyone else in their position. The law is focused on the greater good, stopping money flowing into terrorist groups.
“The prosecution will allege that it was not open to these defendants to take the law into their own hands and to send money to their son, whatever their own reasons and motives may have been.”
Letts and Lane are accused of sending or trying to send a total of £1,723 to their son between September 2015 and January 2016.
They both deny three charges of entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism.
The trial continues.