Revealed: How suicide bomber used to work for the Government

His raging hatred for the West, in a video justifying the London suicide bombings, has made him seem the most transparent of the four men who detonated bombs in rucksacks and killed 52 others on 7 July.

But Mohammad Sidique Khan's extraordinary and rapid transition from law-abiding citizen to terrorist is revealed in documents showing he used to work for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), helping promote British firms overseas. He also helped Leeds police deal with confrontations between rival gangs of youths.

Leeds education authority's personnel file on Khan, obtained by The Independent under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, shows details of his work for the DTI's export arm in Yorkshire in the mid-1990s, when Britain was seeking more trade links with Asia.

But the investigations reveal that Khan lied on his CV about the seniority of his role at the DTI, which escaped the Leeds primary school that hired him on the basis of it. But he did help in the government-led drive to get more trade missions off the ground between 1995 and 1996.

Khan prospered as a primary school learning mentor, and his file provides the first real sense of the charisma and empathy with young people which enabled him ultimately to recruit fellow suicide bombers Shahzad Tanweer and Hasib Hussain. But it also charts his sharp decline from 2003. Prolonged absences from school - when it is now known he was visiting Pakistan - were followed by an unexpected failure to return from extended sick leave in 2004.

He was told his pay was being stopped and he sent an undated typewritten letter to the headteacher, Sarah Balfour. "I'm sorry I've not been in touch for a while," he wrote. "A lot has happened in the last few months. There is no definite timeframe to when I will return. We are returning next week. Unfortunately this is a letter of resignation from my post."

Before Khan took his job with the DTI in August 1995, he had been on a trip to the US. Friends said he came back with cowboy boots and a leather jacket, telling his contemporaries he wanted a career in the US. He became an administration assistant with the Benefits Agency, which he said was dull. The DTI offered better prospects.

John Major's Conservative government had just published its Competitiveness White Paper which committed the DTI to boost overseas trade, in Asia among other places. Khan's role did not include "monitoring security" for visits by exporters to overseas British embassies, as he said on his CV. But his fluency in Urdu and Punjabi may have made him optimistic about his prospects of moving beyond his relatively lowly position.

Khan left to study at Leeds Metropolitan University in September 1996, and took a 2:2 in business management, his file reveals. He clearly believed his vocation lay in steering disenchanted youths away from crime. He took paid youth and community work from Leeds council while finishing his degree and juggled a job at a petrol station in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.

The youth work was for a Saturday club affiliated to Leeds Community School, itself linked to the Iqra bookstore where police later found DVDs glorifying terrorism.

He wrote on his school job application: "As a youth worker I have had extensive experience in managing difficult children. I was approached by a member of the community who told me in confidence [that] his younger brother had been suspended from school and his parents were extremely upset. I began ... a discussion with the child [and] met his parents at their house and the situation was [resolved]."

Khan also detailed a "potentially dangerous" confrontation at a school. "I have an excellent rapport with the youth [community] so ... I targeted the ringleaders and spoke to them, calming them down and offering sympathy as well as empathy.

"We then approached the teachers and as a large group casually walked together up Beeston Hill which [defused] the situation." Associates of Khan have confirmed his role as an interlocutor between police and youths.

Khan also described his interventions in the case of a young heroin addict, his help in getting excluded children back into school and how he arbitrated in a dispute between rival gangs. "I feel patience and understanding comes through experience and maturity," he wrote. "I constantly analyse society and speak to people regarding current issues. I consider my ability to empathise with others and listen to their problems as well as offer viable solutions to be one of my strong assists."

Hillside Primary was obviously impressed, giving Khan several extensions to an initial £200-a-month contract. He also drove the school minibus.

Mrs Balfour, wife of the Labour MP John Trickett, valued him and allowed him paid special leave. "He was great with the children and they all loved him," she has said. "He did so much for them, helping and supporting them and running extra clubs and activities."

Khan's handwritten notes, which seem to be a part of his appraisals, reveal more. "I'm energetic, I [look for a] way of bettering things," he wrote. "Can build up trust and rapport with disillusion, understanding and empathy."

Khan clearly became disenchanted with the modest form of Islam practised by his father, Tika Khan, and stepmother, Mamida Begum. But in 1999 he had started frequenting the mosque. His file shows the process to radical Islam had started by 2002, a year after he joined Hillside. He began taking leave on religious grounds.

He took more than two weeks in January/February 2002 for "Muslim religious obligation, Haj, pilgrimage" and a similar period for "religious observances" the next year. From November 2003, he took 18 months, costing his employer an estimated £6,000.

But the sharp decline came in September 2004 when he was signed off sick, first for three days, then a further 10 days, a further three weeks and another three weeks. He is believed to have cited depression.

On 9 December 2004, after 10 weeks of absence began, Mrs Balfour told her personnel department in an "urgent" memo: "Sidique Khan should have provided the school with a sick note from November 22. Despite several letters reminding him of the school's sickness-reporting procedures he has failed to provide a sick-note. I request you to stop [his] pay."

Three days before, Khan had flown to Pakistan via Istanbul with Shahzad Tanweer. A week later, they took a train to Lahore then Faisalabad, and disappeared, Pakistani security officers said. They surfaced in Britain on 8 February.

MI5 believes they met Muslim extremists during the visit. Khan died, killing seven others, when he detonated his bomb at Edgware Road station on 7 July.

The life of Mohammad Sidique Khan

* October 1974 Born, Leeds

* 1994 Works first for Benefits Agency, then DTI (1995), then learning mentor at Hillside Primary (2001)

* 2001 Upsets father and stepmother by marrying a girl of Indian-Muslim descent, Hasina Patel, whom he met at Leeds Metropolitan University

* 2003 Establishes gyms in Beeston, radicalising young British Muslims. Periods of absence from Hillside

* July 2004 Introduced to government minister Hilary Benn during school tour of Commons. Is also subject of routine MI5 threat assessment after his name crops up in an investigation; check not pursued

* September 2004 Begins long sick leave

* November 2004 Travels to Pakistan with Tanweer to prepare for London attacks

* July 2005 Bombs Edgware Road Tube station

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

Software Solution Technician - Peterborough - up to £21,000

£20000 - £21000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Solutio...

Supply teachers needed- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Supply teachers needed for va...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed Rand...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering