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Parents of ‘Jihadi Jack’ sent him money for his ‘grand adventure’, court told

Muslim convert Jack Letts left his home in Oxford in 2014 aged 18.

John Letts and Sally Lane arrive at the Old Bailey (Yui Mok/PA)
John Letts and Sally Lane arrive at the Old Bailey (Yui Mok/PA)

The parents of a young man dubbed Jihadi Jack sent him money after he embarked on a “grand adventure”, a court has heard.

Muslim convert Jack Letts left his home in Oxford in 2014 aged 18, the Old Bailey heard.

There were “happy exchanges” with his supportive parents John Letts and Sally Lane who appeared to take the view that Jack was on a “grand adventure”, prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said.

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Sally Lane and John Letts arrive at the Old Bailey (Yui Mok/PA)

The couple allegedly ignored warnings of their son’s behaviour and sent or tried to send him a total of £1,723 between September 2015 and January 2016.

At the time, they knew or had reason to suspect that Jack had joined Islamic State in Syria, the court heard.

Organic farmer Mr Letts, 58, and Ms Lane, 56, of Chilswell Road, Oxford, have denied three charges of funding terrorism.

Opening their trial, Ms Morgan said the pair were not terrorists and had never been in trouble with police before.

She said it was inevitable jurors would have “sympathy” for them as parents but added that terrorism laws were there for the “greater good”.

It was not open to these defendants to take the law into their own hands and to send money to their son, whatever their own reasons and motives may have been Alison Morgan QC

Ms Morgan said the defendants committed the offences in spite of warnings by a “wide variety of people”, including Jack’s friends, an academic, charity worker and numerous police officers.

She said: “It was not open to these defendants to take the law into their own hands and to send money to their son, whatever their own reasons and motives may have been.”

The court heard how Jack Letts, now aged 23, had converted to Islam at the age of 16 and had attended a mosque in Cowley Road, Oxford.

A friend had tried to warn his parents that he had been radicalised before they allowed him to travel abroad in May 2014, jurors were told.

Ms Lane bought him a £400 return flight to Jordan despite confiding in a friend that Jack told her he was “going to fight in Syria”.

When he missed his flight home, Mr Letts emailed his son saying: “It’s weird you so far away but hey, you are on a grand adventure.”

By August 2014, there were “clear warning signs” about Jack Letts’ intentions while in Kuwait, the court heard.

Kamal Dingle, an Oxford PhD student, emailed his father to say “there is some concern regarding the company he is keeping” there.

The following month, Mr Letts’ tone changed dramatically, as Jack moved towards Syria, the court heard.

In an email on September 3, Mr Letts emailed him: “A father should never live to see his son buried.

“Please I beg you my son, come home or at least leave where you are and do not get involved.”

He went on to say that his mother was “collapsing with fear and sadness”, accusing him of misleading them.

PA

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