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Parents defend terror case Briton

The parents of a pregnant British mother accused of being part of a US terrorism plot have protested her innocence, it emerged today.

Nadia Rockwood, 36, admitted lying to FBI agents about the existence of a hit list of possible targets when she appeared in court in Anchorage, Alaska, alongside her American husband Paul, 35.

The two were also charged with making false statements about terrorism during interviews in May.

But Mrs Rockwood's parents, Samuel and Piri Hawes, have insisted their daughter is not a terrorist.

Mr Hawes, a 67-year-old engineer, said: "I'm against any form of terrorism, especially in the name of religion."

He told the Daily Mail: "I know my daughter. We are very close. She is not in any way a terrorist. Paul has strong views but he loves America."

Mr Hawes said he had spent years arguing with his son-in-law about religion and had received threatening emails from him after a row about Islam.

The couple said Mr Rockwood, also known as Bilal, converted to Islam after 9/11 to try to control a serious drink problem.

US prosecutors said he began studying the teachings of American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who has professed a hatred for the US and supported acts of terrorism, about a decade ago when the couple lived in Virginia.

"He is a bit of a prat but I can't believe he would have got himself involved in anything like this," Mr Hawes said.

Meanwhile Mrs Hawes, a 66-year-old psychotherapist, said her daughter, who is five months pregnant and has a four-year-old son, is struggling to cope while in custody.

She told the paper: "Doctors have put her on extra medication to try to make sure the baby stays healthy. And she has her boy, Zaid - what will happen with him?"

When the couple were arrested, Mrs Rockwood was reportedly planning to return to live near her mother in England.

Before moving to the US, she was employed as a professional dancer. She left the UK to work as a bridal model in Japan where she met her husband, who was a member of the US Navy.

According to the paper, Mrs Rockwood was brought up as a strict Roman Catholic in Harrow, north London, and attended the Italia Conti performing arts school, where she studied ballet and jazz.

Federal authorities have claimed her husband selected possible targets for future execution by visiting websites.

After he moved to Alaska, they said he began researching explosive components, construction of remote triggering devices, such as mobile phones, and construction of bombs to be delivered by common mail carriers.

They claimed he began discussing using mail bombs and possibly killing targets by gunshot to the head last year.

He was alleged to have given the list of around 15 targets to his wife in April before she took it to Anchorage, where it was picked up by the FBI. Its contents were not made public.

In court Mrs Rockwood admitted she was aware her husband wanted to seek revenge and knew the purpose of the list. But when questioned, she denied delivering the list and claimed it was a book or letter.

Interviewed by the the FBI, her husband denied having had a list, insisted he did not create it and rejected its alleged purpose.

Under a plea deal, Mr Rockwood, who worked as a meteorological technician for the US national weather service, would serve eight years in prison and his wife would get five years' probation in the UK.

US District Judge Ralph Beistline did not immediately approve the deal, but postponed sentencing.

Mr Rockwood is being held in custody while his wife is to be released to take care of their son until her sentencing.

US Attorney for Alaska Karen Loeffler said the case was the first of its kind in King Salmon, a small community of a few hundred people on the Alaska Peninsula.