Belfast Telegraph

White Widow: has plastic surgery helped Samantha Lewthwaite evade capture?

By Amanda Ferguson

The hunt for the world's most wanted female terror suspect – Samantha Lewthwaite from Banbridge – has gone cold amid reports she has undergone plastic surgery to evade capture.

Kenyan detectives are struggling to find the 30-year-old fugitive, known as the White Widow, who has been on the run for the last two-and-a-half years.

The mother-of-four Muslim convert is the widow of Jermaine Lindsay, one of the 7/7 suicide bombers who died along with 26 passengers on a Tube train near King's Cross Station in London in 2005.

Lewthwaite, who faces life imprisonment if she is caught and convicted, has been repeatedly linked to terrorist plots in east Africa. Interpol issued an international Red Notice arrest warrant on September 25 last year.

Police chief inspector Abednego Kilonzo told a court in Mombasa police believed she had undergone plastic surgery.

"She keeps on changing her face all the time," he said.

"She is a person with multiple identification. She keeps on moving from one place to the other. She makes many faces and that is why it is difficult to arrest her."

Mr Kilonzo produced the Red Notice, revealing Lewthwaite faces extradition to Kenya from whichever country she is arrested in.

The notice read: "If found guilty of the offence, the maximum penalty possible of the offence is life imprisonment."

Lewthwaite was born and spent much of her childhood in Banbridge, before moving to Aylesbury.

She converted to Islam at the age of 17 and has subsequently been identified as a suspected main recruiter for al-Qaida in east Africa and an official spokesperson for terror group, Al Shabaab.

Al Shabaab has admitted to a series of brutal attacks in Kenya including a bloody assault on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall last September that claimed 68 lives.

Lewthwaite is wanted on charges dating back to 2011 which include being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony. She has been on the run since then.

Previously, Kenyan police said Lewthwaite financed a trip to east Africa for Woolwich murderer Michael Adebolajo.

He was sentenced to a whole-life term after being convicted over the 2013 murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in London.

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