News

London attacker who previously lived in Dublin 'made several trips' after marrying here

Rachid Redouane
Rachid Redouane

One of the London terror attackers used Ireland as a back-door entrance to the UK and was living here as recently as March, gardai believe.

Rachid Redouane (30) was a pastry chef who moved to Dublin in 2016 along with his wife Charisse O'Leary (38), who is originally from the UK.

Security sources have stated that the terror attacker lived at an apartment block in Rathmines, south Dublin, with Ms O'Leary.

He had lived with his wife and young child on and off for four years.

Redouane and Ms O'Leary married in Ireland in 2012, before moving to the UK. They returned to Ireland in 2016 before leaving again last October.

A source added that their marriage appeared genuine, and not for financial gain or to secure residency in this jurisdiction.

"He was living in the UK long before he first came to Ireland. It is proving very complex to gather all of the information to determine exactly how many times he entered and left Ireland, but gardai believe that he returned to Ireland on a number of occasions since 2012," a senior source told the Herald last night.

Redouane also used the name Rachid Elkhdar, claiming to be six years younger.

Rachid Redouane

Authorities said he was of Moroccan and Libyan descent.

His accomplice, Khuram Butt (27), was known to British intelligence services.

The terrorists were officially named by UK authorities last night, while the third perpetrator has yet to be named.

In total, seven people were killed while a further 48 were injured in the attack, for which terror group Isil has claimed responsibility.

Following the atrocity, London Metropolitan Police officers discovered an Irish identity document on Redouane.

This card was issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and is given to non-EU nationals, permitting them to reside in Ireland for a certain period of time.

Concerns have now been raised that Redouane used Ireland's border with the North to enter the UK before planning and carrying out the terror attack.

He did not come to the attention of gardai in relation to criminal or terror-related activities during his time here, and there is no evidence yet to suggest he was radicalised while living in Ireland.

Charisse O'Leary was arrested as part of the investigation into the London Bridge terror attack. She had recently changed her profile picture on her social media account to show support with the victims of the Manchester terror attack on May 22.

A property in Barking, London, was raided by armed police and in total 12 people were detained as part of the large-scale investigation.

Last night police confirmed these people, including Ms O'Leary, were released without charge. Gardaí are continuing to monitor the movements of a number of suspected jihadists residing here in Ireland.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday confirmed that Redouane was not under surveillance by Garda security and intelligence services while he was living here.

Gardai are now increasing preparations and training to prepare for a potential terrorists attack at transit hubs and large businesses in Ireland.

Computer simulations have been carried out with elite Army officers, which simulate a terror attack taking place at Dublin Airport and a multi-national company.

These exercises simulate attacks being carried out similar to the recent London and Manchester attacks as well as the Paris terror attack in 2015.

They have been taking place in recent months, but will now be increased to include other possible targets and threats. Simulations will include Irish ports, restaurants as well as concerts.

Meanwhile, gardai were last night continuing to carry out background checks on Redouane to determine who he was in contact with while in Ireland.

Authorities are now in the process of establishing whether Redouane obtained EU treaty rights by applying through registered post to the relevant unit of the residence division of Irish Naturalisation Immigration Services (INIS).

An emergency meeting was also chaired by Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan yesterday morning after it emerged that Redouane was in the possession of Irish documentation.

The three-hour meeting at Garda HQ was attended by senior gardai from the security and intelligence units, Department of Justice officials and Defence Forces personnel. Ireland's terror-threat level remains at moderate, meaning that an attack is possible but not likely.

Ken Foy/Robin Schiller