“You could see the evil in his eyes”.
These are the words of a former neighbour of Sutton terrorist Adeel Ul Haq, who was jailed this for six years this week.
The 21-year-old, who grew up on Westbourne Road, was found guilty of funding terrorism - sending money to an ISIS fighter.
Following news of his sentence, neighbours who had known Adeel and his family for years have spoken out.
One neighbour, who lives just a few doors away but did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said: “You could see the evil in his eyes, one time he came out with a Yasser Arafat scarf on his head - I told my husband ‘there’s something not quite right about him’.
“I don’t think it was enough years in jail what they gave him, but I wasn’t shocked that he was involved with this.
“There was always something fishy about the house, there was always a lot of comings and goings late at night.
“When they arrested him there were about 30 police officers and cars everywhere.
“We could see it all from our front window, they had gloves on and they were taking bags of stuff away all day.
“Then they brought him out in handcuffs, and his mother, but they let her go.
“I never spoke to him, and we used to say ‘good morning’ to the family but not after that.
“After he was arrested everybody around here was frightened to say anything in case anything happened to them.”
Other neighbours said Adeel had been one of five children and had lived at the house with their parents, attending local schools.
One said they saw him pass by every day on his way to school but was never seen speaking to anyone.
Ul Haq was just 19 when police swooped on his house to arrest him.
The revelations sent shock waves through the community, and following major interest from the press, it led to a right-wing anti-Muslim demonstration being held on the street and outside his family’s home.
A woman who lived opposite the property said she regularly spoke to the Adeel’s mother.
The woman, who also did not want to give her name, said: “I knew her quite well, she said that he had been falsely accused.
“She said that he’d been sending money for poorly children and that it was just £200 that had fallen into the wrong hands.
“She said that when he was let off, they were going to hold their own march outside in the street.”
Despite his arrest and the resulting backlash, the family remained at the address until before Christmas last year.
Several residents on Westbourne Road said they left suddenly in the middle of the night.
Adeel Ul Haq was one of three young men found guilty at the Old Bailey in London for helping to fund terrorism.
Kristen Brekke, 19, of Grangetown, Cardiff and Forhad Rahman, 21, of Cirencester were also jailed alongside him for assisting Cardiff teenager, Aseel Muthana, to flee to Syria.
The investigation discovered that, collectively, all three of the offenders assisted Muthana in a number of ways including research into travelling to worn-torn countries and purchasing of items such as a passport, flights to Cyprus and military clothing.
Nottinghamshire Police and the North East CTU’s investigation showed that Ul Haq had sent money to an ISIS fighter in Syria and had participated in fundraising for Syrian aid.
DCC Peter Goodman said: “Ul Haq sent money to a foreign fighter overseas and was using his own social media account to raise funds for Syria.
“Ul Haq was also in contact with the others involved in this case, offering advice in online discussions with Muthana, demonstrating knowledge about crossing borders, and armed conflict in Syria.”
The Charity Commission later froze Ul Haq’s account and paid the money he had raised to a suitable registered charity.