Belfast Telegraph

Husband of Louth 'Isis bride' was married to Tyrone woman jailed for trying to take children to Syria

Former member of the Irish Defence Forces Lisa Smith
Former member of the Irish Defence Forces Lisa Smith
Lorna Moore, originally from Co Tyrone, who was jailed in the UK after authorities discovered her attempts to reach her jihadist husband with their children

By Laura Lynott

The husband of Co Louth 'Isis bride' Lisa Smith was previously married to a Co Tyrone trainee maths teacher, jailed for planning to take her children to Syria to join him.

Sajid Aslam (34) was a supply teacher turned alleged jihadist, whose previous wife was Lorna Moore from Omagh.

Aslam is the father of Smith's two-year-old daughter.

Smith, a 37-year-old originally from Co Louth, is currently living in a refugee camp in Syria.

She made a desperate appeal at the weekend to be allowed to return to Ireland.

"For me, I want to go back to my country," the former member of the Irish Defence Forces told the Mail on Sunday.

"She's (her daughter) my number one priority now, that's why I want to leave and take her home with me and get her educated. People here are not educated."

The former Irish soldier also claimed Aslam had died in the last three months. The last reports, prior to Lisa Smith's interview, had placed him in Syria.

Aslam, from Walsall in the West Midlands, met Moore at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2000.

She converted to Islam to marry Aslam three years later. He was believed to be head of a Walsall network of Isis sympathisers.

In May 2016 Moore was jailed for two-and-a-half years at the Old Bailey in London for planning to take her children to Syria to join her husband.

Moore, who had been brought up as a member of Mountjoy Presbyterian Church, five miles from Omagh, failed to reveal to the British authorities that Aslam had travelled to Syria.

And she concealed plans to take their three children, including an 11-month old, to the war zone, the court had heard.

She insisted she had been planning to take them back to her family's farm in Co Tyrone after finishing her teacher training in 2015.

Her mother Katherine Moore told the court her daughter had become depressed and in the end abandoned the plan. She said her daughter was "very dutiful", "patient" and a "very good mother".

The jury believed that Moore knew her husband was part of a network travelling to Syria, and British police suspected women were being lured to the Isis territory to have children.

When sentencing Moore, Old Bailey judge Charles Wide described her as a "very strong character" who "knew perfectly well" of her husband's "dedication to terrorism".

The judge said one of the most "troubling" matters about the disgraced teacher was her ability to tell "lie after lie".

However, residents in Mountjoy who had known Moore growing up referred to her as a "quiet, decent wee girl".

Some felt sympathy for her.

On the day her husband travelled to Syria the mother took her children to Butlin's holiday camp in Skegness. Aslam's friend Ayman Shaukat (28) was convicted of preparing terrorist acts by helping Aslam to travel.

Aslam later sent Shaukat a coded text of a link to the R&B song 'I Made It (Cash Money Heroes)' by Kevin Rudolf when he arrived in Syria.

And within months Moore booked flights to Palma, Majorca, with the intention of travelling to the war zone.

Her plan was given away by a text from another Isis fanatic's wife in Turkey, who wrote: "See you there."

The former teacher told the British authorities she would "never" put her children's lives at risk, saying: "They mean the world to me."

She claimed her marriage was over after Aslam became abusive and that they'd only continued to live together for the sake of their children.

Moore's father Noel claimed his daughter had been jailed wrongly, that she hadn't known her husband had travelled.

"It was a miscarriage of justice," he told the BBC.

"It couldn't be anything else. My daughter didn't know where the man was going. I think the whole thing's rubbish.

"Somebody's been accused of something they didn't do and getting two-and-a-half years' jail for it.

"She didn't know the man was going to go away. He didn't come home after a week of holidays."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph