Schoolgirl 'fully radicalised' by Isis propaganda must be taken away from 'deceitful parents', judge rules

Judge said the 'intelligent, educated, ambitious' 16-year-old from east London was suffering 'psychological and emotional harm'

Henry Austin
Saturday 22 August 2015 01:04
The Royal Courts of Justice, London
The Royal Courts of Justice, London

A schoolgirl “fully radicalised” by Isis propaganda must be taken away from her “deceitful parents” and household full of terrorist propaganda, the High Court has ruled.

The Family Division judge, Mr Justice Hayden, said the “intelligent, educated, ambitious” 16-year-old from east London was suffering “psychological and emotional harm”.

The girl, who can only be referred to as “B”, has already attempted to travel to Syria to become a “jihadi bride”.

After B was removed from a flight to Turkey in December 2014 and made a ward of court, Mr Justice Hayden said her parents had appeared to co-operate with police and social workers to stop her and her siblings accessing online terrorist propaganda. But when counter-terrorism officers searched the family home in June, they found “a plethora of electronic devices” including those belonging to the father, containing Isis material.

These included pictures of beheadings and material on bomb-making and how jihadists should “hide” their identities. This showed the parents had carried out “a consummately successful deception” of the authorities, he said.

Of the girl, he added: “I can see no way in which her psychological, emotional and intellectual integrity can be protected by her remaining in this household.”

B was one of a number of intelligent young girls within the London borough of Tower Hamlets who had “seduced by the belief that travelling to Syria to become what are known as jihadi brides is a somewhat romantic and honourable path for them and their families,” Mr Justice Hayden said. The reality on the ground “holds only exploitation, degradation and death”, he said. “In other words, these children with whose future I have been concerned have been at risk of really serious harm, and as such the state is properly obligated to protect them.”

There was no reason to believe B would not achieve her ambition of becoming a doctor after achieving outstanding GCSE results, he said. But only a “safe and neutral environment” free from the “powerful and pernicious influences” of jihadi propaganda could now protect the teenager’s well-being.

The teenager remains on bail and under police investigation after she and her parents and other siblings had been arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 on suspicion of possessing information likely to be useful to those who wanted to commit terrorist acts.