A former beauty contestant and the ex-girlfriend of a professional footballer has been found guilty of funding terrorism.
Amaani Noor, 21, was found guilty at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday of donating 45 dollars, around £35, to organisation The Merciful Hands via Paypal on May 23 last year knowing it would or may be used for the purposes of terrorism.
Noor, who the court heard had married an Islamist fighter online and planned to join him in Syria, sobbed in the dock as she was found guilty by a majority of 10 to 2 following three hours and 38 minutes of deliberation.
Judge Andrew Menary QC told the five men and seven women on the jury: “It’s a sad case. You have had an insight now into this very murky and challenging world that some people occupy online where people speak casually about some pretty awful things that are going on.
“A moment’s glance online will tell you Miss Noor was in a relationship with someone in the public eye.
“That person was a professional footballer so her life undoubtedly at some point changed dramatically.”
Noor’s mother left the court crying following the verdict.
The former Miss Teen GB semi-finalist, who wore a black hijab and black coat with faux fur collar, claimed she gave the money believing it would be used to buy food for women and children in Syria.
In evidence, Liverpool-born Muslim Noor said she had begun to focus on her religion after she broke up from an unfaithful boyfriend who was “in the public eye” when she was 18.
She began discussing extremist organisations with people she met on the internet following a failed marriage to a Muslim preacher, who she had married at her home in Cinema Drive, Wavertree, and had planned to move to Saudi Arabia with.
The court was read messages between Noor and a man called Kareem Scent L, who she said she is still in touch with, and Victoria Webster, 28, of Nelson in Lancashire, who has pleaded guilty to three counts of fundraising contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000.
The former performing arts student accepted some of the views she expressed in them appeared “harder” than views of so-called Islamic State (IS).
She said she had wanted to find out about the organisations to decide whether or not to support them.
The court heard she married her husband, who communicated with her on the Telegram app using the name Hakim My Love, in a video-link ceremony on her 20th birthday.
She said he described himself as an “independent” fighter in Syria and she believed he was fighting for Islam and Sharia law.
She had planned to join him, she said, and on the day police searched her house had tickets booked to Turkey.
The court heard Noor made the donation using the name Margaret Allen after messages from Webster, who the court heard described the group as being IS.
Noor and Webster will be sentenced on Friday December 20.
Noor was given bail with conditions including a curfew, an electronic tag and the surrender of her passport.