Aine Davis (left) at an ISIS training camp. Picture: Facebook
November 13, 2023
A 39-year-old man who was originally from Hammersmith has been jailed after admitting charges relating to the funding of terrorism.
A court at the Old Bailey had heard how Aine Leslie Davis had arranged with his wife Amal El-Wahabi for thousands of pounds to be smuggled into Turkey in January 2014.
However, police seized the money before it could be taken abroad. El-Wahabi was arrested and an analysis of her phone revealed calls and messages between her and her husband to arrange the smuggling of 20,000 Euros.
Officers also recovered images Davis had sent of himself to El-Wahabi. One showed him holding a Kalashnikov, with a group of other men believed to be Daesh members. Davis denied knowing that he was in an Islamic State training camp and said he posed holding the gun as a joke.
In November 2014, El-Wahabi, who as two children with Davis, was jailed for 28 months. El-Wahabi claims that Davis had told her he would take another wife in Syria if she didn’t do what he ask. She paid a friend, university student Nawal Msaad, to bring the money but she was cleared after a trial at the Old Bailey when her defence said that she didn’t know the money was intended to be given to ISIS.
Davis was detained in Turkey in the following year and jailed for seven-and-a-half years by the Turkish authorities for being a member of Daesh otherwise known as Islamic State.
When he completed this sentence, he was deported to the UK last August and arrested by counter terrorism officers at Luton Airport on 10 August 2022.
At the Old Bailey on Monday, 13 November, he was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment after pleading guilty at a hearing on 16 October.
Davis has been named as Jihadi Paul, one of the ISIS Beatles, a group of four men from Britain who joined Islamic State. Although, members of the alleged group were known to him, he has always denied being present when any hostages were taken or killed. He has never been convicted of any offences in connection with the activity of this group and he continues to claim he spent most of his time in the region in Turkey rather than Syria.
He is the only alleged member of the group of four to face trial in the UK. Mohammed Emwazi, the man nicknamed "Jihadi John", and the one who a number of hostages said carried out the executions, was killed by a drone strike in Syria in November 2015 on the same day that Davis was arrested in Turkey.
The two others believed to be part of the group, El Shafee Elsheikh (Ringo) and Alexanda Kotey (George), were captured in Iraq in January 2018 and extradited to the US where they have been jailed for life. As part of the terms of their extradition, they were not given the death penalty.
Kotey is suspected of helping to organise a terror plot in 2014 which aimed to murder soldiers and police officers. The alleged plan was to attack the former Shepherd’s Bush police station in Uxbridge Road and the army barracks in South Africa Road and then make a getaway on mopeds. Kotey was reportedly in regular communication with medical student Tarik Hassane, who was jailed for life in 2016 for conspiring to commit a terrorist murder and ordered to serve a minimum of 21 years for his part as ringleader of the gang.
Alexanda Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh (right)
Elsheikh was captured by the Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. He was responsible for guarding prisoners and subjected them to waterboarding and mock executions. Born in the Sudan he grew up in White City and supports QPR as does Kotey. At one point he preached from a stall outside Shepherd's Bush Tube Station. He studied engineering at Acton College then worked as a mechanic and on the funfair when it visited Shepherd's Bush Green. His youngest brother Mahmoud also joined ISIS as and was killed in Tikrit, Iraq, in April 2015.
Davis grew up in the Hammersmith area as well as spending part of his childhood in Gambia. His mother is a dinner lady who worked at Latymer Upper School and his father was an employee of John Lewis who had 13 children by four different women.
Earlier in his life he was a low-level drug dealer in the area with the nickname ‘Biggz’ but was sent to a young offenders’ institution after being caught in the back of a taxi with a firearm in 2004. Whilst incarcerated he converted to Islam but on his release, he found work as a tube driver. He first went to Syria with Lotey in February 2012 and knew Emwazi from a mosque in west London. He was named as a co-conspirator but the evidence provided by the hostages suggested there were only three of their captors who had British accents and the US did not seek extradition for Davis in connection with the murder of the hostages.
Commander Dominic Murphy, who leads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said, “Davis arranged for a large sum of money to be smuggled from the UK to fund the terrorist activities of Daesh – a group he had travelled to Syria to join.
“It has been nearly ten years since Davis committed these crimes, and I hope this case sends a message that we will relentlessly pursue and seek to prosecute anyone involved in terrorism both in the UK and abroad, no matter how much time has passed.
“The Met and the entire Counter Terrorism Policing network works closely with international partners to bring to justice people like Davis who go to lengths to fund terrorist groups.”
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