NewsCrime World

Muslim convert planned to take children to Syria

Lorna Moore
Lorna Moore

A Muslim convert planned to take her three young children to Syria to be reunited with their jihadi father, a court has heard.

Trainee maths teacher Lorna Moore, 33, allegedly failed to tell authorities her supply teacher husband Sajid Aslam was poised to join Islamic State fighters.

Jurors at the Old Bailey were told that Moore's husband was one of a group of friends who had left Walsall in the West Midlands to join the terrorist organisation between July and December 2014.

At the time of his departure, Moore had taken the rest of the family on a Butlins holiday in Skegness but she maintained contact with her husband via Skype after he left, the court heard.

On his arrival in Syria, Aslam sent a "triumphant" coded message to his friend Ayman Shaukat, 27, in the form of a YouTube video of a song entitled I Made It by the pop band Cash Money Heroes, the court heard.

Within months, Moore had booked flights to Palma, Majorca, but her final destination was given away in a text from another couple who had embarked on a journey towards the war-ridden state saying "see you there", jurors were told.

Meanwhile, Moore had set about renting out her house, selling televisions and a car, applying for passports and visiting family in her native Belfast, Northern Ireland, the court heard.

Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC told jurors: "The plan was for Miss Moore to take the children via an innocuous destination to be reunited with their father."

But it was scuppered when members of their group, Alex Nash and his wife Yousma Jan, were arrested by Turkish police at Gaziantep and police swooped on Moore's home in Walsall, the court heard.

Muslim convert Jacob Petty, 25, also known as Abu Yaqood Britany, was the first of the group to travel to Syria in July 2014. He was killed before the year was out.

He was swiftly joined by his old school friend Isaiah Siadatan, leaving behind his wife and two children. It is unknown whether he is still alive.

Moore's husband Aslam, 34, was helped on his way by Shaukat who dropped him off at the airport on August 23, the court heard.

Later that day, Shaukat sent a photograph of himself in his bedroom with the Isis flag to a friend on WhatsApp, the court was told.

Then on August 30, Aslam sent a link to the YouTube pop video, a clear message that he had made it across the border to Syria, to which Shaukat replied "good stuff", the court was told.

In October, Aslam confided in him that it can been "tough at times in my new job but it's all in a good cause", while Siadatan encouraged Shaukat to join him in "Bradford" for the "party life".

Mr Christopher told jurors that talk of girls and the student lifestyle were all part of a cover story that Siadatan was at university.

On November 4, another Muslim convert, Nash, 22 and his young wife had allegedly set off for Syria but were sent back to the UK by Turkish authorities.

Shaukat, who was treasurer of Islam Walsall and worked as a customer services agent, drove them to Birmingham Airport, the court heard.

The couple wore western clothing on the trip "no doubt to deflect questioning about where they were going and why", Mr Christopher said.

They sent a text to Moore saying "See you there. May the peace of Allah be upon you xxx" and a picture of their last sunrise over their home in Bentley Lane, Walsall.

The prosecutor said that Moore was aware of the true significance of the couple's departure and when she booked flights to Palma for November 15, she was really intending to be joining them at their destination.

He told jurors: "The prosecution suggest that a clear overall picture emerges from the evidence - this was a group of friends all intent on going out to Syria to fight for ISIS, and providing each other with help and support, in which Shaukat played an instrumental role - and indeed, it would appear that he would say that the only reason that he did not go out as well was his lack of passport."

Moore, of Glebe Street, Walsall, denies failing to disclose information about acts of terrorism on or before August 24 2014 that might be of assistance in securing the apprehension of Aslam.

Shaukat, of Pargeter Street, Walsall, denies two counts of preparing for terrorist acts in relation to helping Aslam and Nash as well as possession of information contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000 in relation to a copy of "39 Ways To Serve And Participate In Jihad" on a laptop external hard drive.

Nash has admitted he was planning to go to Syria and pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism, while Siadatan's wife Kerry Thomason has admitted assisting her husband in preparation of acts of terrorism.

On Tuesday, jurors were told how Moore was brought up a Protestant in Northern Ireland and converted to Islam before marrying Aslam in 2003, having met him at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Their first two children were born in "quick succession" before the relationship broke down over his "bullying and controlling behaviour".

But in 2013, during an episode of reconciliation, their third child was conceived, the court heard.