Belfast Telegraph

Tyrone teacher Muslim convert who plotted to take kids to Syria jailed

By Rachael Burnett

A Muslim convert from Northern Ireland who wanted to bring up her children under the Islamic State in Syria has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Trainee maths teacher Lorna Moore (34), from Co Tyrone, was planning to take her three children, including an 11-month-old baby, to the warzone.

Moore, who lived in Walsall in the West Midlands but is originally from Omagh, failed to tell authorities her husband Sajid Aslam (34), was leaving for Syria.

Ayman Shaukat (28) was also convicted of preparing terrorist acts by helping Aslam and convert Alex Nash (22) on their way.

Also linked to the group was Kerry Thomason (24), who was pregnant when she was prevented from travelling to Syria with her children to join her husband.

During sentencing at the Old Bailey, Judge Charles Wide described Moore as a "very strong character" and said she "knew perfectly well of your husband's dedication to terrorism".

"One of the troubling things about you is your facility for telling lies," he added.

She was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.

Shaukat was jailed for 10 years with a five-year extended licence, while Nash was jailed for five years with a one-year licence.

The judge called Thomason "naive" and said her husband made "ugly threats" when trying to persuade her to join him.

She was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a supervision order and six-month tagged curfew between 6pm and 6am.

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

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

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

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

After meeting Aslam in university, she converted to Islam and they married three years later, going on to have three children, now 10, nine and three.

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. But during a visit in 2014, the defendant brought forward the move.

Her mother, Katherine Moore, told the court her daughter had become depressed and in the end abandoned the plan.

Mrs Moore described her daughter as "very dutiful, patient and a "very good mother". She told how she would bring her three children to Northern Ireland for Christmas, but without Aslam, who found it "boring".

She said her son-in-law could be "impatient" and "unkind" towards her daughter, and added he missed the birth of his second child because he had shrugged it off as "another false alarm".

Lorna Moore claimed her relationship with Aslam ended after he became abusive and they only lived together for the sake of the children. She told jurors that when she turned to a Muslim cleric for a divorce, he told her a "white Muslim is not a special Muslim" and she must take her husband back.

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 because he presented different versions of himself to jurors.

He described IS as "evil" and said he told MI5 he would "assist in any way I could" after agents contacted him.

Other members of the West Midlands group 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 after he was killed in December 2014.

Petty was followed by former schoolmate Isaiah Siadatan, (24), whose pregnant wife, Thomason, was prevented from joining him.

He sent her an email in December 2014 insisting she should bring their children to him in IS.

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

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

Nash 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. A charge against Jan was discontinued.

Belfast Telegraph


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