Whitehall terror suspect Khalid Mohamed Omar Ali 'a model pupil'

Ashish Joshi, News Correspondent

A former teacher and a friend of terror suspect Khalid Mohamed Omar Ali have told Sky News he was a sweet, kind and popular boy who was never in trouble at school. 

Ali was arrested by specialist armed police officers in Whitehall last Thursday.

The 27-year-old was allegedly carrying a number of knives in his rucksack when he was stopped just metres from Downing Street.

Ali from Tottenham, North London attended the Northumberland Park Community School.

A former teacher, David Mishra, described him as a "model pupil".

He said: "I remember him as the sweetest boy that used to love spending time in the music department.

"He used to play with us, he used to play with my children, he used to sit and have pizza with us.

"He used to join in sometimes with the drumming session that we used to have.

"He was well natured, polite and never gave me a moment's trouble. He was actually a very kind boy."

Mr Mishra said Ali stood out in his memory because he was always well mannered and smiling.

He said the school had trouble with some disruptive pupils but that Ali was never one of them.

"In those days there were ups and downs and there were some very challenging students and he wasn't one of them," said Mr Mishra.

"There was no incident where I can recall where he had to be suspended, excluded or anything like that.

"He was in school nearly all the time, he was getting on with his work and he loved his sports.

"He was almost a model pupil, in fact he was a model pupil."

Mr Mishra's recollection of Ali as a kind pupil is shared by a former schoolmate, Liam John.

He told Sky News: "In school he was like a general cool guy. He was the kind of guy that would back you up for every kind of reason.

"A guy who stands up to bullies and that kind of stuff.

"If you were ever in his presence you had the feeling this guy was always willing to take you in as a brother.

"In school he was all about the football. He was a very charismatic guy. The guy everyone wants to know. In his year he was the most popular dude.

"He wasn't a person who made a lot of noise. But anybody he spoke to he made a connection with them. He was never a bad guy."

Mr John said one incident in particular typified Ali's nature.

He recalled: "I remember when I was in trouble with some guys at school and he was the one guy that backed it up and said 'nah, leave him alone'.

"He was not the sort of guy to stand in a corner and let you get harassed by the wrong people.

"He put a stop to the situation. He was not going to let it escalate."

In a statement on Ali's detention, Metropolitan Police said: "This was a targeted and intelligence-led arrest.

"He was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. Knives have been recovered from him.

"The man is being detained under the Terrorism Act and remains in custody at a south London police station.

"A warrant of further detention was granted at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Saturday, 29 April. This allows the suspect to be detained until Thursday, 4 May."

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