Oxford

Jack Letts 'told parents about IS beheading wish'

John Letts and Sally Lane Image copyright PA
Image caption Organic farmer John Letts and former marketing officer Sally Lane deny funding terrorism

The parents of a Muslim convert sent him money in Syria after he talked about wanting to decapitate an old school friend, a court has heard.

Jack Letts's parents are accused of sending or trying to send him £1,723, despite having reasons to believe their son had joined Islamic State.

John Letts, 58, and Sally Lane, 56, are on trial at the Old Bailey and deny three charges of funding terrorism.

The prosecution told jurors there was no suggestion they supported IS.

But they allegedly sent three payments to their son between September 2015 and January 2016 after he contacted them from the war zone.

In July 2015, a former school friend, Linus Doubtfire, posted a picture on Facebook as he completed his Commando Artillery Course in the British Army, the court heard.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said Jack Letts posted: "I would love to perform a martyrdom operation in this scene."

'Disgusting comments'

Mrs Lane allegedly urged him not to be "so stupid", and said: "How did we bring you up to be so easily manipulated?"

Her son replied: "I would happily kill each and every one of Linus Unit personally... I honestly want to cut Linus head off."

His mother told him: "I'm really hoping that your disgusting comments about cutting people's heads off are not coming from you, i.e. someone else is using your account."

Ms Morgan said this showed the defendants were never sure they were communicating directly with their son, or what the money they sent was going to be used for.

In March 2015, police warned the couple they risked prosecution if they sent their son money, the court heard.

Then in September, Mrs Lane allegedly transferred money to an account in Lebanon after Jack Letts insisted it had "nothing to do with jihad".

She allegedly told him: "I would go to prison for you if I thought it gave you a better chance of actually reaching your 25th birthday."

In a police interview in November, Mrs Lane denied helping terrorists, saying she hoped the money would pay for her son to get glasses.

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