A couple from Oxford have today (21/6) been convicted of offences relating to funding terrorism.
Following a three week trial at the Central Criminal Court in London, John Letts and Sally Lane, were convicted of one count of sending money which they had a reasonable suspicion could be used for the purposes of terrorism, contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
They were found not guilty by majority verdict on a second count of the same offence, and the jury did not reach a verdict on a third count of the same offence.
The court heard that despite warnings from Counter Terrorism Police, the couple sent and attempted to send money intended for their son Jack Letts, who had previously travelled to Syria. They did this despite knowing or suspecting that the money could be being used for terrorist purposes.
Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE), said: “I am clear when I say that John Letts and Sally Lane are not terrorists and there is no suggestion that they supported the ideology or actions of Daesh in any way.
“However, they consciously chose to send money to their son despite knowing or suspecting that it might be used by him to support terrorist activity or it may fall into the hands of others who may use it for that purpose.
“The law around this is clear and applies equally to everyone, regardless of their motives. Put very simply, it is here to help stop the funding of terrorist organisations and individuals.
“Despite warnings from my officers, Letts and Lane ignored the advice and continued with their plan. By doing so, they broke the law.”
During the trial, the court heard that the pair had asserted that as parents, they had a duty and responsibility to assist their son and that they believed that sending the money may help him get out of Syria.
The court heard that in March 2015, the family were visited by detectives from CTPSE and told they must not send any property, in particular any money to their son and doing so may result in prosecution. However, Letts and Lane ignored this advice and, as the court heard, –
On September 2, 2015, after an online conversation with her son Jack, Lane sent £223. Detectives visited her and formally interviewed her regarding the sending of the money, in which she denied she was sending it knowing that it could be used for terrorism purposes.
Both Letts and Lane were arrested on January 5, 2016, and subsequently charged with offences contrary to section 17 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Det Chief Supt Barnes added: “This couple showed disregard for the law when they decided to send money overseas.
“We work day in, day out, to keep the public safe and to mitigate the threats posed against us by terrorists. Part of this work includes working to stop money getting into the hands of terrorists or those who support them.
“We will continue to work to disrupt and stop the funding of terrorism in the UK and overseas and will always seek to investigate and prosecute those who ignore the law.”
Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC sentenced Letts and Lane to 15-months’ imprisonment each, suspended for 12 months. They also found £140.