Church of England minister Sue Boyce (pictured) has told of how she learned of her jihadi son’s death through an ISIS propaganda video
A Church of England minister has told of how she learned of her jihadi son’s death through a video posted online.
Reverend Sue Boyce said she was ‘horrified’ to discover her son Jake Petty, who went by the alias Abu Yaqoob Britani, had fled the UK to join ISIS in Syria in July 2014.
He continued to stay in touch with his distraught family over WhatsApp but ‘went quiet’ in mid August.
Petty, a former Church of England Schoolboy who converted to Islam when he was 15, sent a final email to his family on October 26, 2014 – days before he died.
In the message entitled ‘New Life’, he defended the murderous group by saying ‘we are not a load of backward, bloodthirsty terrorists’ and claimed ‘nobody has been brainwashed or tricked’.
His parents found out about his death when police showed them internet footage of his dead body on October 30, the Old Bailey heard.
Fighting tears Susan Boyce gave told the court: ‘It was the sort of email that, when it arrived, you read it and wished you weren’t reading it and there’d be another one saying it was a nasty joke.’
Petty was 25 years old when he was killed while fighting for ISIS.
His bereaved mother told the Old Bailey that Petty attended the Blue Coat secondary school, in Walsall and left after finishing his GCSEs, aged 16.
Rev Boyce said her son had moved to Egypt to study after finishing a degree at London University’s prestigious School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS).
She said: ‘I had no indication that he was thinking of going to Syria. We had got together and watched news of the uprising.
Jake Petty (pictured), a former Church of England Schoolboy who converted to Islam when he was 15, fled the UK to join ISIS in Syria in July 2014
‘Unless he was bluffing, he was quite shocked by some of the things that were going on, and over the beheadings, and that Sunnis [Muslims] were involved.
‘We had a family WhatsApp group and he would send funny things, like him crossing the road to show how busy it was. Everyone from the family did a copy of that wherever they lived.’
He eventually phoned to say he was ‘on the borders of Syria as an aid worker’ and claimed he had lost his phone, but eventually phoned them on the same number.
Rev Boyce said: ‘I was horrified, I said don’t be stupid, don’t do it, but he said it was as an aid worker.’
Petty then went quiet until he emailed his family on October 26 to tell them he was training to be a soldier.
He added: ‘I’m sorry for not being upfront about my intention to come here, but I feared you may have tried to stop me, which I could not risk. Since becoming a Muslim I have never been happy living in the UK.
The last time Miss Boyce (pictured) heard from her son was when he emailed the family on October 26, 2014, days before his death, and defended the murderous group he has joined
‘We are not a load of backward, bloodthirsty terrorists, but just people who want to live somewhere where society revolves around religion and not the other way round.
‘Nobody has been brainwashed or tricked, I am training to be a soldier because the whole world are united against us.’
‘By now you would have realised what all this means; unfortunately I won’t ever be coming back to the UK…I know none of this is easy for you and you [may] never forgive me but it’s not my intention for you to worry [or] be sad.
‘Yes the chances of me getting hurt here are high but I want you to know that in spending my days with the most kind, generous and loving people I’ve ever met and I have a peace and contentment in my heart that I could never dream of anywhere else. ‘
He told his sister that he would miss her wedding, adding: ‘It makes me sad just to write this that I won’t be at your wedding and for this I hope you will forgive me.
‘I know how much the day means to you and I hope it will still be amazing and everything that you dreamed of.’
In the message entitled ‘New Life’, Petty defended ISIS (file photo) by saying ‘we are not a load of backward, bloodthirsty terrorists’
Police visited the family home on 30 October last year and prosecutor Julian Christopher QC said: ‘When they did come round and showed the footage you could see that it was him.’
Rev Boyce was giving evidence in the prosecution of Lorna Moore, 33, who is accused of failing to inform police her husband Sajid Aslam was poised to leave for Syria
Jurors have heard Petty was one of a group of young Muslims from Walsall who went to fight for ISIS between July and December 2014 – or at least tried to.
His schoolmate Isaiah Siadatan left behind his wife Kerry Thomason, 24, and their two children to join his friend in the war torn country.
Police stopped Thomason before she could board a flight to Turkey and Siadatan later sent her an email threatening to kill her and her family if she did not bring his children to Syria.
It is not known whether he is still alive, but Thomason has pleaded guilty to assisting him in preparation for his acts of terrorism.
Former Walsall supply teacher Aslam, 34, was allegedly a fundamentalist Muslim interested in influencing young people.
Jurors have heard Petty was one of a group of young Muslims from Walsall – including Sajid Aslam (left) who left behind his wife Lorna Moore (right) – who went to fight for ISIS between July and December 2014
The Muslim convert left the country in August 2014, leaving his 33-year-old wife, Lorna Moore, and three children in Walsall.
He is said to be fighting for ISIS, while Moore, who is alleged to have made plans for her and their children to join him, is standing trial alongside Ayman Shaukat.
Shaukat is accused of helping Aslam and another man get to Syria to join ISIS, while Aslam’s wife Lorna Moore, 33, is said to have failed to alert police to her husband’s plans.
Alex Nash, 22, also went to a Church of England School, in Walsall, before converting to Islam, aged 18, and marrying a Muslim girl, Yousma Jan, 20 in an Islamic ceremony witnessed by Aslam and Shaukat.
Shaukat is alleged to have driven them to Birmingham airport on 4 November 2014 so they could fly to Turkey and even removed furniture and kitchen appliances from their rented house.
Jurors heard the sofa and fridge ended up at the Walsall Islamic Centre, also known as ‘Islam Walsall’, where Shaukat was the treasurer.
The pair were deported back to the UK by the Turkish authorities and arrested off the plane at Heathrow airport. Nash has since pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts.
Shaukat, who worked at Equity Finance Ltd, in Wolverhampton, is said to have sympathised with ISIS and a picture of him posing in front of an ISIS-style flag in his bedroom was recovered from his mobile phone.
Meanwhile law graduate Ayman Shaukat (pictured) is accused of helping Aslam and another man get to Syria to join ISIS
Shaukat is said to have sympathised with ISIS and a picture of him posing in front of an ISIS-style flag (file photo) in his bedroom was recovered from his mobile phone
Jurors heard the Coventry University graduate also had a copy of terrorist manual 39 Ways to Serve Participate in Jihad and an e-book called 44 Ways to Support Jihad on CDs stashed on a second bookcase in his room.
Shaukat, of Pargeter Street, Walsall, denies two counts of preparation of terrorist acts and one charge of possession of information contrary to the Terrorism Act.
Moore, of Glebe Street, Walsall, denies concealing information about acts of terrorism.
Thomason has pleaded guilty to assisting her husband in preparation of acts of terrorism, while Nash, of Bentley Lane, Walsall has admitted preparation of terrorist acts.
The trial continues.