London Bridge attacker's brother was Scotland Yard adviser who carried out anti-extremism work, inquest hears

Saad Butt says he felt ‘capable' of monitoring his brother alone, despite two other family members reporting the jihadist

Chiara Giordano
Friday 07 June 2019 14:33 BST
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Who are the victims of the London Bridge attacks?

The brother of one of the London Bridge terrorists was a Scotland Yard adviser with anti-extremism experience who did not report him because he felt “capable of monitoring him” alone, an inquest heard.

Saad Butt, who had carried out anti-extremism work with government funding, said he felt “competent” supervising attacker Khuram Butt, 27, “because of the background I had”.

The youth worker gave evidence at the inquest into the deaths of the eight victims at the Old Bailey on Friday.

After Butt expressed a desire to live in the Isis caliphate, and bought one-way tickets to Turkey for himself and his wife Zahrah in 2015, counsel to the coroner Jonathan Hough QC asked if Mr Butt considered telling the authorities.

Mr Butt, who worked for a project called the Young Muslim Advisory Group up until 2012, replied: “Not at all. I felt capable in monitoring him, keeping in touch with him. I felt competent in doing that because of the background I had.”

Two other family members had reported the jihadist on two different occasions in 2015, the inquest heard.

The inquest heard that between 2015 and 2017 Butt had expressed strong anti-Western views, shared videos of child beheadings on WhatsApp, and been expelled from a mosque because of his views.

After Butt was arrested in October 2016 for fraud, but with counter-terror officers involved in the raid, Mr Butt said he felt “reassured” authorities were “doing their part in the background to monitor him”.

The eight victims of the London Bridge attack. (Top L-R) Christine Archibald, James McMullan, Alexandre Pigeard, Sebastien Belanger. (Bottom L-R) Kirsty Boden, Sara Zelenak, Xavier Thomas and Ignacio Echeverri.

Gareth Patterson QC, representing six victims’ families, suggested counter-terror officers may have been “crying out” for his assistance.

But Mr Butt said in response: “At the time there was nothing he was saying or doing that indicated otherwise.

“There was not even an inkling in me to add to it and say ‘this is what I think he’s doing’ because I felt reassured that was being done in the background.

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“There was nothing further I could have added to it.”

Eight people were killed and 48 others injured when Butt, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, launched a van and knife attack on June 3 2017.

The three men mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge before rampaging through Borough Market and stabbing people at random with 12-inch ceramic knives before they were killed by police.

On Thursday, Butt’s widow Zahrah Rehman broke down in court as she said she had laid flowers at the scene but is “not able to look” at photos of the victims.

The victims were Xavier Thomas, 45, Christine Archibald, 30, Sara Zelenak, 21, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, Kirsty Boden, 28, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39, who were murdered in an attack which lasted less than 10 minutes.

The inquest continues.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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