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Married couple who sent €261 to their son in Syria found guilty of funding terrorism by UK court

In September 2015, they sent the funds via an intermediary in Lebanon who was nominated by their son, nicknamed Jihadi Jack.

Image: Yui Mok

A MARRIED COUPLE in the UK have been found guilty of funding terrorism after sending €261 to their Daesh-supporting son in Syria. 

John Letts (58) and Sally Lane (57) were each charged with entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of funding terrorism, after their son Jack Letts – known as ‘Jihadi Jack’ – travelled to Syria in 2014. 

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Jack (23) was a convert to Islam and travelled to the Middle esat before eventually travelling to Daesh-controlled areas of Syria. 

Daesh is an Arabic-language acronym for the Islamic State.

John Letts and Sally Lane were warned by police that they should not transfer money to Jack as doing so could mean they were breaking the law.

In September 2015, however, they sent him £233 (€261) via an intermediary in Lebanon who was nominated by Jack. Sally Lane used her real name and personal details for the transaction.

The couple was arrested in January 2016 on three counts of funding terrorism and their trial at the Old Bailey began on 22 May 2019.

They were found guilty on one count, not guilty on the second, and the jury failed to reach a verdict on the third count.

They were sentenced to 15 months imprisonment with 12 of those suspended. 

Jenny Hopkins, head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division at the CPS said; “It is natural for parents to care for their son but Sally Lane and John Letts were warned of Jack’s activities and told not to send him money or risk prosecution. They chose to ignore that advice.

“This case shows that people are breaking the law if they give money that could be used for terrorist purposes even if they don’t sympathise with terrorism.

“The lessons are simple, individuals should not travel to fight in war zones and those at home should not send them money,” she added. 

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The CPS said the couple’s defence was that they trusted their son when he told them he was acting as a translator and a civil administrator for Daesh, and that they did not support its aims or methods. 

The CPS Counter Terrorism division presented evidence from witnesses and messages exchanged by Jack and his parents, that showed they knew he held violent, extremist views before they sent him the money.

It said this evidence included a message he posted on Facebook in July 2015 in response to a photo of a former school friend standing alongside other soldiers after completing a British army training course. 

“I would love to perform a martyrdom operation in this scene,” Jack wrote. 

When his father challenged him Jack said attacking the British army was praiseworthy, that he would cut off his former friend’s head and if he ever came across him in the war-torn region he would shoot him dead.

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