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Omagh woman Lorna Moore convicted for not telling police her husband would join Islamic State

Published 24/02/2016

Moore’s arrest photograph
Moore’s arrest photograph
Lorna Moore was one of a number of young people from Walsall accused of being intent on travelling to the war zone in Syria
Moore’s husband Ayman Shaukat
Lorna Moore arrives at the Old Bailey

A trainee teacher from Omagh has been found guilty of failing to tell the authorities her husband was about to join the so-called Islamic State.

Muslim convert Lorna Moore (33) knew her husband Sajid Aslam was part of a network leaving to live under IS, an Old Bailey jury concluded.

She was one of a number of British Muslims from Walsall, West Midlands, accused of planning to take her young children to join their father in Syria.

The mother-of-three is originally from Omagh in Co Tyrone, but she had moved to Walsall and converted to Islam.

The jury deliberated for 17 hours and 25 minutes.

Her co-defendant, Ayman Shaukat, 27, who was referred to in court as the Karma Chameleon, was found guilty of helping Aslam and Muslim convert Alex Nash, 22, on their way to fight.

At the time of Aslam's departure in August 2014, Moore had taken the rest of the family on a Butlins holiday in Skegness.

The day after dropping him off at the airport, Shaukat sent a photograph of himself on his mobile phone posing with the IS flag, the court heard.

As Aslam (34) crossed into Syria, he sent a triumphant coded message back to Shaukat in the form of a video link to a song called Made It by Cash Money Heroes.

Within months, Moore had booked flights to Palma, Majorca, but the prosecution said her final destination was given away in a text from Nash's wife in Turkey saying "see you there".

But giving evidence, Moore said she would "never" put her children's lives in danger, adding: "They mean the world to me."

She insisted she had been planning to take them back to her family's farm in Omagh after finishing her teacher training - a claim backed up by her mother.

Her relationship with Aslam ended after he became abusive and they only lived together for the sake of the children, the court heard.

She told jurors that when she turned to a Muslim cleric for a divorce, he told her that a "white Muslim is not a special Muslim" and she must take her husband back.

She said Aslam should "grow a pair" and come back to Britain and explain himself "if he is innocent and got nothing to hide".

Aslam's sister Sarwat told jurors her brother had been in touch with her during the course of the trial to say he wanted to "start a dialogue with police about coming home".

Shaukat, of Pargeter Street, Walsall, denied helping his friends join IS by dropping Aslam and Nash off at airports.

The convicted burglar and law degree graduate was nicknamed Karma Chameleon during the trial because he presented different versions of himself and his home in the Caldmore area in Walsall is known locally as Karma.

He described IS as "evil" and said that he had told MI5 he would "assist in any way I could" after agents contacted him as treasurer of the community group Islam Walsall.

The former Legal and General personal case manager had several meetings and phone calls with security services before their association "fizzled out", he said.

Jurors were told about other members of the West Midlands group who allegedly set off for Syria between July and December 2014.

The first to join IS was Muslim convert, Jake Petty, 25, also known as Abu Yaqoob Britany.

His Christian minister mother Sue Boyce wept as she told jurors how she begged him not to go and later had to identify his body from video footage on social media after he was killed in December 2014.

Petty was swiftly followed by former schoolmate Isaiah Siadatan, 24, whose pregnant wife Kerry Thomason, 24, was supposed to fly out with their two children but was stopped by police.

The court heard that he had sent her an email in December 2014 insisting that she should bring their children to him in IS.

Siadatan is believed to have been killed in the summer of 2015, although his death is unconfirmed.

Thomason has previously pleaded guilty to assisting her husband in preparation of his terrorist acts.

Nash, 22, and his pregnant wife Yousma Jan, 20, were arrested by Turkish authorities and sent back to the UK.

He took sole responsibility for the plan and admitted preparing acts of terrorism, while a charge against his wife was discontinued.

The jury was not told about two other men and a woman from Walsall who are also believed to have gone to Syria.

One of the men has since died in fighting, according to unconfirmed reports. The wife of the other man is understood to have given birth to a child after becoming pregnant in Syria.

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