In Depth

Syria: what do we know about suspected UK suicide bomber?

Abdul Waheed Majeed lived on Martyrs Avenue in former home of Sarah Payne killer Roy Whiting

Abdul Maheed Jaheed

THE British man suspected of carrying out a suicide bomb attack in Syria has been named as Abdul Waheed Majeed. The bomber drove a lorry packed with explosives through the walls of Aleppo prison last week, reportedly freeing hundreds of inmates.

Al-Nusra Front, a rebel group with links to al-Qaeda, named the bomber as Abu Suleiman al-Britani, which the BBC says is an alias for Majeed. Officials, however, are yet to confirm his identity, citing a lack of DNA evidence.

So what do we know about Abdul Waheed Majeed?

He was a 'family man'

Majeed left his wife Tahmina, 36, and their three children, two boys aged 18 and 16, and a girl aged 12, to go to Syria six months ago. He had been in regular contact with his wife until a week before the attack, when he reportedly told his family: "If I don't contact you for a couple of days, don't worry about it, I will be in touch again." His uncle, Mohammad Jamil, has described him as a "family man" and said his wife is in a "totally confused state". His relatives are still holding out hope that it has all been a big mistake.

He lived on 'Martyrs Avenue' in Crawley

When counter terrorism officers were sent to Majeed's house in Crawley, West Sussex, they could have been forgiven for wondering if the address they had been given was a joke. The 41-year-old lived in a three-bedroom house on Martyrs Avenue. Neighbours told the local Argus newspaper that Majeed was a "pleasant chap" who helped cut back hedges and repaired a pot hole on the road. He is believed to have attended Langley Green Mosque, also on Martyrs Avenue.

He went to Syria on a 'humanitarian mission'

Majeed apparently left England and his job as a contractor at the Highways Agency to carry out humanitarian work in Syria. His uncle said he had never shown any signs of extremism and described him as an "extremely likeable, generous man who was motivated by his humanitarian concerns for the people of Syria". According to Arif Syed, a community leader in Crawley, Majeed had two opportunities to return home but "enjoyed it so much" that he extended his stay.

Roy Whiting once lived in his house

In a bizarre twist, it has emerged that Majeed's house was once lived in by the notorious child killer Roy Whiting. According to the Crawley News, the house belonged to the father of Whiting, who was jailed for life in December 2001 for kidnapping and murdering eight-year-old school girl Sarah Payne. Whiting moved out of the house in 2000 after a vigilante mob learned that he was being quizzed by detectives over Payne's murder and smashed windows at the house.

He was a 'mentor' for radical young people

According to the Daily Mail, Majeed was a "mentor" to radical youths who followed Al-Muhajiroun, a banned group that was founded by hate preachers Omar Bakri Muhammad and Anjem Choudary. Ahsan Ahmedi, a campaigner promoting a positive image of Islam, described the group as "aggressive" supporters of the jihad, but he said Majeed appeared to have a calming influence on them at one event last July.

Recommended

‘No deal’
Today's newspaper front pages
Today’s newspapers

‘No deal’

When are the 2022 UK bank holidays?
Deck chairs
In Depth

When are the 2022 UK bank holidays?

Backstage in the White House: what is at stake for Boris Johnson?
Boris Johnson in New York
Behind the scenes

Backstage in the White House: what is at stake for Boris Johnson?

How high could UK inflation rise?
Pound coins and bank note
Today’s big question

How high could UK inflation rise?

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

Abba returns: how the Swedish supergroup and their ‘Abba-tars’ are taking a chance on a reunion
Abba on stage
In Brief

Abba returns: how the Swedish supergroup and their ‘Abba-tars’ are taking a chance on a reunion

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives
Kenneth Feinberg at a Congressional hearing
Profile

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives

The Week Footer Banner