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Mother of Jihadi Jack fears liberal parenting may have led him to travel to Syria

Jack Letts has been charged with being a member of Isis (Facebook)
Jack Letts has been charged with being a member of Isis (Facebook)

The mother of Islamic State suspect Jack Letts has said she has “guilty thoughts” about whether her “over-liberal” parenting style led him to travel to Syria as a teenager.

Letts, a Muslim convert from Oxford who has Canadian citizenship through his father, has been stripped of his British citizenship and held without trial by UK-allied forces in Syria for nearly six years.

He is accused of being a member of IS and was nicknamed Jihadi Jack by the British press.

In her new autobiography, Reasonable Cause to Suspect, his mother Sally Lane says she questions whether his “chaotic” childhood and her “over-liberal” parenting drove her son to leave the UK at 18, choosing instead to live under Isis’ so-called Caliphate.

She says one of her regrets was living with a group of lodgers when she and Jack’s father separated for a number of years, “including an aggressive heroin addict whose friends regularly robbed the place”.

In the memoir, seen by the Sunday Times, she writes: “I wondered if they thought Jack’s problems stemmed from his overliberal parents who hadn’t taken a firm enough hand with him. Later on, a portion of the general public certainly believed this to be the case.

"I’ve wondered this myself. Over and over again, I’ve raked over all the incidents of his childhood where I could have been better, or acted differently."

She also questioned whether her son converted to Islam to find “another, larger family in a Muslim network” as his own relatives were mainly living thousands of miles away in North America.

Ms Lane and her husband, John Letts, were convicted in 2019 of funding terrorism after they tried to send their son £223. They received suspended jail sentences of 15 months.

It was revealed last month that Jack will be repatriated from Syria to Canada, where he is also a citizen.

Letts was 18 when he fled to Syria in 2014 and wed an Iraqi woman.

He was held by Kurdish-led forces in 2017 and begged to be returned to Oxford, saying he posed no threat. The UK revoked his passport in 2019 but he has Canadian citizenship via his father.