Islamic State flag and items which were used by Islamic State militants are seen at a museum in Erbil. File picture: Azad Lashkari/Reuters

London - The parents of a Muslim convert known as Jihadi Jack sent him money in Syria even after he said he wanted to kill a former schoolfriend who was in the Army, a court heard on Thursday.

Jack Letts, now 24, wrote on Facebook of beheading the young soldier and said he hoped they would meet in the Middle East so he could put six bullets in his head.

His parents John Letts, 58, and Sally Lane, 56, are accused of three counts of sending him money that could support terrorism, which they deny.

They sent £1 723 (R31 000) even though they had every reason to believe their son had joined Islamic State in Syria, the Old Bailey has been told.

Jack Letts converted to Islam at 16 and left the family home in Oxford in 2014 aged 18. He travelled to Jordan after his mother paid for his flight and then moved on to Kuwait. By early 2015 the couple knew their son had got married in Iraq and had no intention of returning to Britain. They had also made calls from their home to a number with a Syrian dialling code, the court heard.

In May that year, he posted a picture of himself standing on the Taqba Dam near Raqqa in Syria, which prosecutor Alison Morgan described as being ‘in the heart of Islamic State territory’.

Two months later an old school friend, Linus Doubtfire, posted a picture on Facebook showing himself with other soldiers after they had passed a commando artillery course.

Other people posted comments of congratulations, but Jack Letts wrote: "I would love to perform a martyrdom operation in this scene."

When confronted by his mother about what he had written, he replied: "I genuinely believe attacking the British Army is a very praiseworthy action when the intention is correct."

"I would happily kill each and every one of Linus’s unit personally. I honestly want to cut Linus’s head off. I hope he finds himself lost in Beji or Fallujah [cities in Iraq] one day and sees me whilst I’m armed and I put six bullets in his head."

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." The court heard that her husband said their son was guilty of "helping to spread hatred, pain, anger, suffering and violence".

In March 2015, Thames Valley Police officers visited them to warn they risked prosecution if they sent their son property or money.

When told about this, Jack Letts responded angrily: "Please convey to the British police that I’m not planning on coming back to their broken country. Convey to them from me: Die in your rage soon you’ll be the ones being raided!" The court heard that the couple visited Dr Shiraz Maher, then deputy director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London.

Dr Maher said he believed Jack Letts was with Islamic State and it was "exceedingly unlikely and highly improbable’ that he had not engaged in military action and violence. John Letts told his son of the police interest in the family, adding: "They are watching everyone. Luckily we don’t know anything about what you’re doing. I just hope you have enough sense not to ruin your future."

In October 2015, Lane told her son she felt she had been "a terrible parent". She wrote: "Clearly I indulged you, I made you think you were centre of the universe. I regret this bitterly. I... gave you too much power as a child."

The Facebook post came before two of the attempted bank transfers on December 31, 2015, and January 4, 2106, the court heard. At one stage Jack Letts asked what would happen if he returned to the UK. His father told him: "You will be arrested if you come back to the UK, Jack, as you are suspected of being a member of a proscribed organisation."

Miss Morgan told the jury: "The prosecution does not have to prove exactly what the money was going to be used for. You may well conclude that they both had, at the very least, reasonable cause to suspect that the money sent by them would or might be used for terrorist purpose."

Mason Poore, a fellow Muslim convert and friend of Jack Letts, told the court he grew worried about his friend’s views on Islam.

"In our discussions we would follow certain Islamic preachers but he would start talking about extremist preachers and terrorists in Egypt. It concerned me," he said. When Jack Letts left to learn Arabic in Jordan and Kuwait, he went to see his parents and asked a friend called Yusef in Jordan to ‘keep an eye’ on him.

The trial continues.

Daily Mail