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Jihadi Jack’s parents ‘are thoroughly decent people who wanted to help their son’, court hears

Jihadi Jack’s parents ‘are thoroughly decent people who wanted to help their son and were arrested in a sham investigation’, court hears

  • John Letts, 58, and Sally Lane, 56, transferred money to their son Jack
  • They are accused of funding terrorism as Jihadi Jack was in ISIS stronghold
  • Their lawyers today said police had given them the ‘green light’ to send funds
  • This was denied by senior investigating officer Louise Tompkins at court today
  • The pair have denied three charges of funding terrorism at the Old Bailey

The investigation into the Jihadi Jack’s parents is a ‘sham’ prosecution of ‘two thoroughly decent people’ who were just trying to help their son, a court heard today. 

Organic farmer John Letts, 58, and book publisher Sally Lane, 56, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of funding terrorism by sending £1,723 to their son Jack.

Their lawyers said today that counter-terrorism police had given the parents from Oxfordshire the ‘green light’ to send money to their radicalised son who was living in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria.

John Letts, 58, and his wife Sally Lane, 56, (pictured outside court yesterday), are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of funding terrorism by sending money to their radicalised son Jack Letts 

Jack Letts (pictured) was living in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria at the time his parents wired him the money

Jack Letts (pictured) was living in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria at the time his parents wired him the money

Henry Blaxland, representing the 23-year-old’s father, said police had made up their mind to charge the parents even though they had been told the cash could be sent to their son Jack.

Questioning senior investigating officer (SIO) Louise Tompkins, Mr Blaxland said: ‘You had already made up your mind as investigating officers that the offence had been committed when the money was sent.

‘So this investigation was a complete sham wasn’t it, because you had already made up your mind?

‘They are thoroughly decent people who are trying to help their son. It is pretty mealy-mouthed isn’t it?

Senior investigating officer Louise Tompkins said she wanted to prevent the parents being in the position they are now in

Senior investigating officer Louise Tompkins said she wanted to prevent the parents being in the position they are now in

‘The document you had served on them was clearly misleading was it not?

‘The police have led these two up the garden path, haven’t they? First, they tell them they can send money – we say obviously advice which should not have been given.

‘Secondly, you don’t spell out to them in clear terms what the consequences are going to be as far as you are concerned if they send money.

‘You were told in clear terms that they were given the green light to send funds. No ifs no buts, you can send funds.’

SIO Tompkins said the parents were told not to send money.

She said: ‘I wanted to prevent them being in the position they are in today.

‘I would not want to be prosecuting the parents of a son who went to Syria.

‘Ultimately, my aim in all of this was making sure money did not get into the hands of IS that were committing terrorist atrocities all round the world at this point.

‘I did not think they were trying to fund a terrorist organisation, however, that is why the legislation is as it is – to prevent anyone accidentally or inadvertently sharing money with a terrorist organisation.’

The parents’ lawyers claim during the Christmas holiday of 2015 police had wrongly informed the parents they were allowed to send money to their son.

SIO Tompkins was away from the office over Christmas and Lane and Letts claim they were told they could give funds to their son on 27 December.

She said: ‘They certainly had not been given permission to send money – but if you send it you will have to retain any messages because obviously there might be an investigation.

‘The family had seen this as a green light to send money to Jack. I wanted to clarify the situation immediately.

‘I wanted there to be no confusion about the sending of money and what that could mean for John and Sally.

‘On the same day contact was made. I believe contact was made with John providing that advice over the phone.

‘She was not spoken to on the phone, I believe it was just John on the phone but obviously the direction was to both of them, John and Sally, that they should not transfer any money.’

The prosecution allege Lane and Letts jointly attempted to send £1,723 to their son over 2 September, 31 December, 2015 and 4 January 2016.

Letts and Lane deny three charges of entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism.

The trial continues.

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