Aine Davis: Alleged fourth IS 'Beatle' charged with trying to smuggle 20,000 euros to Syria

·4 min read
Aine Davis - HO VIA MET POLICE
Aine Davis - HO VIA MET POLICE

An alleged member of the IS terror cell known as "The Beatles" appeared before a British court on Thursday charged with trying to smuggle 20,000 euros to Syria.

Aine Davis is the first of the four alleged members of the notorious execution squad - nicknamed after the band because of their British accents - to be deported to the UK.

The 38-year-old has previously denied being part of the cell, which tortured and beheaded western hostages in Syria.

Mr Davis is accused of arranging for an individual to smuggle 20,000 euros out of the UK to Syria for the purposes of terrorism.

He had travelled to Syria in July 2013 following his conversion to Islam, a court heard on Thursday, where it is alleged he joined jihadist fighters.

Kashif Malik, prosecuting, told Westminster Magistrates’ Court that Mr Davis had asked his wife, Amal El-Wahabi, to find a friend to travel to Syria with the cash.

The prosecutor told the court that an individual was arrested in 2014 and found to be in possession of 20,000 euros, hidden inside her underwear.

Aine Davis - Leon Neal/Getty Images
Aine Davis - Leon Neal/Getty Images

Mr Davis has also been charged with possession of a firearm for terrorist purposes, after police allegedly found images he had sent to his wife in 2013, showing him holding a rifle while standing near a group of men.

During a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday, Mr Davis, who was wearing a grey police custody tracksuit, spoke to confirm his name, date of birth and that he was of no fixed address.

The defendant was arrested at Luton Airport on Wednesday evening after being deported to England from Turkey.

He did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody by Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring, ahead of a hearing at the Old Bailey on September 2.

A warrant was first issued for Mr Davis's arrest at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in January 2015. He is charged with possession of a firearm for terror purposes and two charges relating to funding terrorism.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "The CPS authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge Aine Leslie Junior Davis for terrorism offences in 2014, and after being deported to England by Turkish authorities, he has been arrested at Luton airport following his return to the UK.

"Mr Davis, 38, has been charged with terrorism offences and possession of a firearm for a purpose connected with terrorism.

"The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr Davis are active and that he has the right to a fair trial."

The leader of the cell, Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, was killed in an airstrike in 2015.
The leader of the cell, Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, was killed in an airstrike in 2015.

The leader of "The Beatles" cell, Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, was killed in an airstrike in 2015.

Two other members, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were convicted earlier this year in the US of executing hostages, torture and kidnap. Mr Davis denies being the fourth member, known as Jihadi Paul.

Mr Davis, the son of a school dinner lady and a father who briefly worked for John Lewis, was born in Hammersmith in February 1984 and spent his early years in Fulham.

He was one of 13 children his father had by four different mothers. Aged five, he was sent to Gambia, his father’s birthplace, to live with his grandmother because he was "driving his mother crazy".

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh - AFP/Syrian Democratic Forces
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh - AFP/Syrian Democratic Forces

He returned to the UK aged eight, before going back to Gambia and then returning to London for good aged 17.

Mr Davis had two children with one woman, before marrying a second he met at a local mosque in west London in 2006. By then, he had converted to Islam and was calling himself Hamza.

In 2009, Mr Davis travelled to Yemen, enrolling at a religious Islamic school, and later embarked on further travels to the Middle East, visiting Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage, and then Yemen, Egypt and Qatar.

He later had two children with his second wife, before announcing in 2013 that he was leaving for Syria, travelling via Turkey.