Amal El-Wahabi, pictured arriving at the Old Bailey in London today. She told the court her husband travelled a lot to ‘get away from everyone and look for work’
A woman accused of sending cash to her terrorist husband in Syria stashed in a friend’s underwear has told a court that he would leave the country to get away from the police, drugs and bad influences.
Amal El-Wahabi, 27, allegedly asked her friend Nawal Msaad, also 27, to be a trusted courier and take 20,000 euros to Turkey at the request of husband Aine Davis, who she knew by his Muslim name Hamza.
But Msaad was stopped by police at Heathrow Airport in January before she boarded a flight and handed over the rolled up notes, which were hidden in her undewear, a court has heard.
Giving evidence in the witness box at the Old Bailey, mother-of-two El-Wahabi said she met Hamza while she was working in the nursery at her local mosque when she was 19.
The 30-year-old was selling cannabis, class A drugs and had also fathered two children by another woman, she said.
El-Wahabi told the court: ‘My dad picked up the idea he has money and did not know where the money came from.’
When her parents found out he was a drug dealer she had to choose between Hamza and her parents, she said.
The defendant, who was born in London with Moroccan roots, said she was very close to her family.
But added: ‘I stayed with him because he was always there for me and he has helped me so much.’
The court also heard how the couple split up for a long period and Hamza had travelled abroad to countries including Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, she said.
El-Wahabi’s lawyer Mark Summers asked: ‘He is somebody who is happy to be living in London?’
But she replied: ‘Not at all. The drugs, the influence of friends he has around him, the police targeting him constantly. With him, his problem is he is always being watched.’
Asked why he travelled so much, she said: ‘To get away from everyone and to look for work.’
While he was away, she said: ‘(He is) much happier because he has not got everyone on his back, he is not influenced by friends and family. He believed when he is away he is more himself.
‘He believed if you die doing good, you go to heaven.’
The court also heard he only told her the night before that he was leaving on July 28 last year, although she had been suspicious.
‘He said I can’t be here for too long’, she said.
‘He finds it really hard to settle himself here, and always said he didn’t want to stay here for long.’
She said she had been oblivious to her husband buying outdoor wear and survival equipment in the week before he left.
‘The night before, he decided to tell me he was going away’, she added.
‘I was confused. He always tells me “I’m going, I’m going”.
‘But everything had changed between us.’
El-Wahabi said their second child was just two months old when her husband left, but she believed their relationship had changed for the better.
‘He changed so much, and because of what we had been through, it hit him’, she said.
‘When he came back he changed and was more there for us.’
Nawal Msaad, pictured arriving at the Old Bailey today. She is accused of concealing ¿20,000 in her knickers to give to El-Wahabi’s husband Aine Davis in Syria
El-Wahabi said she had seen Hamza telling their eldest son ‘you have to be good for mummy, look after your brother’.
‘I was thinking why are you saying these things for?’, she said.
The court was also shown the contents of an iPod, an iPad, a Kindle and two laptops seized by detectives, including radical lectures and Islamic extremist propaganda videos.
El-Wahabi said she was too busy to use the iPod after starting a new beauty training course, while the Kindle had been left behind by Davis at her house by accident.
She said she used the iPad after Davis left the country, but she denied seeing any of the material that has been shown to jurors.
El-Wahabi said Davis initially told her he was in Amsterdam when she called him, as they kept in touch though WhatsApp.
She said she used an Apple Mini Mac laptop that Davis gave her, having bought it from his cousin in 2009.
But she said she just used to complete her college assignments.
El-Wahabi said she started a beauty course at Wembley campus of the College of North West London in September 2012.
She told the court she realised she was pregnant again just two months into her course, but was determined to qualify despite expecting a child.
El-Wahabi said she had known her co-defendant Msaad from the age of 13 as they went to school together.
Msaad and El-Wahabi both deny becoming concerned in a funding arrangement as a result of which money was made available or was to be made available to another, and they knew or had reasonable cause to suspect that it would or may be used for the purposes of terrorism.
The trial continues.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2697648/My-jihadi-husband-went-Syria-stop-dealing-drugs-London-Woman-accused-plotting-smuggle-cash-terrorists-inside-underwear-reveals-partner-travelled-Middle-East.html#ixzz37qZ5NEam