1. ITV Report

Who is Samantha Lewthwaite? The woman dubbed the 'White Widow'

July 7 bomber Germaine Lindsay pictured with Samantha Lewthwaite Photo: Solo Syndication

A British woman who has allegedly been involved in terrorism "many times before" was among the militants who laid siege to a Kenyan mall, the country's foreign minister has claimed.

There is much media speculation that the woman in question could be fugitive British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite, nicknamed the "White Widow".

  • Lewthwaite, 29, is the widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of the suicide bombers who killed more than 50 people on London's transport system in 2005.
  • She is the daughter of English soldier Andy Lewthwaite, who met and married Irish Catholic Christine Allen whilst serving in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.
  • She had an unremarkable childhood in Banbridge, before moving to Aylesbury at a young age. Her parents split in 1995.
  • The mother of three converted to Islam at the age of 17 and married Jamaican-born Muslim convert Lindsay in 2002.
Germaine Lindsay (front) with fellow July 7 bombers Mohammed Siddique Khan, Shezhad Tanweer Credit: Reuters/Police Handout
  • Lewthwaite is thought to have left Britain several years ago for East Africa and is wanted by Kenyan police over alleged links to a terrorist cell that planned to bomb the country's coast.
  • Briton Jermaine Grant is currently on trial in Kenya over his alleged involvement in the plot to carry bombs attacks after explosive materials were found in a house he was staying in December 2011. Prosecutors have claimed that Grant was working with Lewthwaite.
Jermaine Grant is charged with being in possession of bomb making materials. Credit: Reuters
  • In March 2012, officials said Lewthwaite had fled to Somalia and that officers were hunting a woman who used several identities, including hers. Despite efforts to find her she has remained a fugitive.
Detectives have been investigating whether this passport has been used by Samantha Lewthwaite Credit: ITV News
  • Lewthwaite has been linked to Somalian Islamist militant group al-Shabaab. Stuart Osborne, the Met's former deputy head of Counter-Terrorism, told ITV News her role, if any is unclear.

Aylesbury councillor Raj Khan, who knew Lewthwaite's family socially, remembers her as "an average, British, young, ordinary girl. She had a very great personality".

"She was not strong-headed. And that's why I find it absolutely amazing that she is supposed to be the head of an international criminal terrorist organisation."

Mr Khan added that if Samantha is implicated in the Kenyan terror attack her family will be "very upset".

More on this story