Parents of 'Jihadi Jack' freed on bail pending funding terrorism trial
The parents of Muslim convert "Jihadi Jack" have been freed after spending five nights in jail amid fears they would try to rescue their son from "mortal danger" in Syria.
A senior judge reversed the move to remand John Letts and Sally Lane into custody as they await trial on charges of funding terrorism.
The couple, from Oxford, are accused of sending hundreds of pounds to 20-year-old Jack Letts, who is believed to have joined Islamic State in 2014.
Mr Justice Saunders refused to criticise the decision by a district judge at Westminster Magistrates' Court not to allow the pair bail during their first appearance in court last Thursday.
He said: "She took the view ... the defendants were devoted parents who believed that their son was in mortal danger and, as many parents would, they would stop at nothing to remove him from that danger.
"In those circumstances she concluded that there was a serious risk that they would commit further offences by sending money to their son in the belief that would lead him to safety.
"So two perfectly decent people have ended up in custody because of the love of their child."
Letts, 55, appeared before the Old Bailey via video-link from HMP Wandsworth, with his arm in a sling fashioned from a jumper to protect an old injury that had flared up in jail.
Wearing black clothes and spectacles, his wife, Lane, 54, appeared from HMP Bronzefield.
Defence barrister Di Middleton, for Letts, said the effect of a few days behind bars had been "incalculable" for both of them.
Mr Justice Saunders observed: "These two are clearly desperately concerned about their son. The information that they have had would indicate to them - and they were given to believe it - if they were able to get money to their son, he would be able to get out of the desperately dangerous situation he is in.
"For perfectly understandable reasons that is considered to be an offence because of where he is and whose hands that money is likely to fall into.
"Perfectly decent parents in that sort of situation - how can I be sure they will not be moved by their own compassion to their son and send money out there?"
Ms Middleton replied: "All aspects of what your Lordship has summarised have been in existence since this couple were granted police bail and there have been no attempts since then.
"Notwithstanding the constant situation - the constant fear - there have been no further attempts."
Granting conditional bail, Mr Justice Saunders noted there was no opposition from police and the defendants were of "positive good character".
He added: "The defendants have now spent some time in custody. I have no doubt that they have found that very difficult.
"I hope and believe it has brought home to them that, however well intentioned, they cannot and must not transfer money directly or indirectly to their son without express written permission of the appropriate police department."
He warned the couple that if they breached the terms of their bail, it would be "extremely unlikely" it would be renewed.
Lane and Letts are charged with three counts of terror funding by allegedly sending their son £223 on September 2 last year, £1,000 on December 31 2015 and £500 on January 4 2016.
Lane is charged with two further counts of allegedly attempting to send two payments of £500 on January 4 2016.
Jack Letts, dubbed "Jihadi Jack", was suspected of being the first white Briton to join the terror group after he left his Oxford home and travelled to the war-ravaged country in 2014.
The 20-year-old reportedly goes by the name Abu Mohammed and married an Iraqi woman with whom he has a son, Muhammed.
His parents, of Chilswell Road, Oxford, are next due to appear at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing on June 23.