Suspected Islamic State fighter apologises to Syria as he's jailed for terror offences

Metropolitan Police handout photo of Aine Leslie Davis (left) in Syria. Credit: PA

A British Muslim convert once suspected of being a member of the so-called Islamic State death squad dubbed 'The Beatles' has apologised to the people of Syria as he was jailed for eight years.

Aine Leslie Davis, 39, was deported from Turkey last August and detained on arrival at Luton Airport after serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for membership of IS.

Last month, he admitted possession of a firearm contrary to Section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000, and two charges of funding terrorism, after the Court of Appeal threw out a bid for the charges to be dropped.

The charges, dating back to 2013 and 2014, related to images with Davis’s then-wife while he was in Syria and a failed bid to send him 20,000 euros via an unwitting courier.

Davis has always denied being connected with The Beatles cell – so-called because of their British accents – which tortured and beheaded Western hostages in Syria.

Two IS Beatles members, British nationals El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, are serving life in US jails.

Aine Leslie Davis in the dock during the trial. Credit: PA

The third Beatle, Mohammed Emwazi, dubbed Jihadi John, who was believed to feature in shocking videos of IS beheadings of a number of captives, was killed in a drone strike in 2015.

Davis’s legal team had claimed that US authorities had accepted there was no fourth Beatle, while the Court of Appeal noted any plan to extradite him there was "short-lived and discounted."

Mark Summers KC said having "misunderstood" his religious obligations to travel to Syria, Davis left in January 2014 having witnessed "atrocities" and achieved nothing significant.

Mr Summers said: "He has a number of apologies to make through me today – the first is to the Syrian people. The presence of him, those like him and the groups he associated with there, caused more harm than good."

In a televised sentencing at the Old Bailey on Monday, Judge Mark Lucraft KC jailed Davis for five and a half years for the firearms offence and two and a half for terrorism funding, to run consecutively.

Judge Lucraft found Davis was not a dangerous offender, having taken into account the "passage of time" since he was in Syria.

Davis’s terrorist activities dated back to 2013 when he left his home in London and set off to join the armed conflict in Syria, having previously converted to Islam and spent time in the Middle East.

A picture found on the phone of Amal El-Wahabi of her husband Aine Leslie Davis. Credit: PA

The evidence was largely uncovered from his communications with his then-wife, mother-of-two Amal El-Wahabi, 36, who stayed behind in north London, living on benefits.

He went on to enlist her in a plan to send him cash by hoodwinking her friend Nawal Masaad, 36, to act as courier on the promise of 1,000 euros.

Ms Masaad, from Holloway, north London, was stopped at Heathrow Airport on January 16 2014 as she was about to board a flight to Istanbul with 20,000 euros stuffed inside her tights.

The prosecution alleged the money, raised in the UK, was destined to support Davis’s terrorist cause in Syria.

Following El-Wahabi’s arrest in London, police uncovered a stash of terrorist propaganda said to have been left behind by Davis when he went to Syria.

On her mobile phone was a picture sent by Davis in November 2013 in Syrian woods with a man holding a Kalashnikov rifle.

Davis told his wife: "Don’t show this to anyone but yuyu. (sic). I mean it. "He sent another picture posing with 13 others in military-style clothes and holding up guns.

After the Old Bailey trial in 2014, El-Wahabi became the first person to be found guilty of funding terrorism in Syria and was jailed for 28 months.

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