‘IS Beatle’ in court on terror charges after arrest at Luton airport

·2-min read
Aine Davis
Aine Davis

A Briton accused of being a member of the Islamic State cell nicknamed The Beatles was on Thursday charged with terror offences after being held when his deportation flight landed at Luton airport.

Hammersmith-born Aine Davis, 38, has been charged with three terror offences and appeared this morning at Westminster magistrates’ court.

Officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command arrested him at the airport last night after he arrived from Turkey, where he had been serving seven and a half years for being a senior member of IS.

He was taken to a south London police station before being charged. Davis has repeatedly denied being part of the terror cell which tortured and beheaded western hostages in Syria. Captives dubbed the group The Beatles for their English accents, calling them John, Paul, George and Ringo.

His Turkish trial heard that Davis left the UK to join IS in 2013 but was arrested in a raid on a villa near Istanbul in 2015. He was convicted of being a senior IS member and held in an Ankara jail until his deportation on Wednesday. Despite the conviction, Davis retained his British citizenship meaning that he could be deported to the UK. A warrant was issued at Westminster magistrates’ court in January 2015 for Davis’s arrest and accused him of trying to fund terrorism.

The IS Beatles are thought to have been responsible for the kidnap and holding of more than 20 westerners and the execution of at least seven of them including Britons David Haines and Alan Henning.

They cell caused outrage after releasing videos of the executions of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Ringleader Mohammed Emwazi, from Queen’s Park, west London and known as Jihadi John, was killed in a drone strike in 2015.

Alexanda Kotey was jailed in the US in April for his part in the torture and murder of US hostages. His co-defendant, El Shafee Elsheikh, will be sentenced later this month. Elsheikh and Kotey, also from west London, were “Ringo” and “George”.

Davis, the son of a dinner lady, has denied being “Paul”. He has been charged with offences contrary to the Terrorism Act of 2000 after an inquiry by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command. Davis appeared in the Westminster dock on Thursday in prison-issue grey clothes, flanked by two men in suits.

Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring remanded him in custody until a hearing at the Old Bailey on September 2. Davis did not indicate any pleas to the charges he faces at the 10-minute hearing and spoke only to confirm his identity.

The court heard he left the UK for Turkey via Amsterdam in 2013 and is accused of joining Islamic State in Syria.

He is accused of two charges relating to the alleged money transfer for terrorist purposes between January 13 and 16, 2014, and possessing a firearm for terrorist purposes between July 28, 2013 and January 16, 2014.