‘My British terrorist son is burning in hell for his crimes’
The mother of Thomas Evans, a jihadist killed fighting for al-Shabaab in Kenya, says she is “both devastated and relieved” by his death
Thomas Evans, 25, was killed during a gun battle with Kenyan troops in June. The former Manchester United fan from High Wycombe, Bucks, became radicalised in Britain and changed his name to Abdul Hakim before travelling to east Africa in 2011.
A Channel 4 documentary, My Son the Jihadi, speaks to witnesses who claim a white man fitting Evans’ description led terror attacks on Kenyan villages, singling out Christians and cutting their throats.
His mother, Sally Evans, told documentary-maker Richard Kerbaj she will forever miss the boy she raised but is glad the man he became is dead and “burning in hell”.
She learned he had been killed after a picture of his body circulated on social media.
“Imagine discovering the death of your child on Twitter and being both devastated and relieved at the same time,” Mrs Evans said.
“Devastated because the child you brought into this world was killed after being brainwashed into pursuing a murderous cause. But relieved because the death of your child meant that he could no longer harm innocent people.”
Mrs Evans, 57, a former teaching assistant, remembers her son as a little boy full of “cute mischief” who made mud pies in the back garden and won a WHSmith drawing competition with an illustration from Harry Potter.
He spoke of wanting to become an electrical engineer with the Royal Marines so he could serve his country.
But she believes he became radicalised after splitting from his long-term girlfriend and forming a friendship with a group of Muslim men at his local gym.
He changed his name, grew a beard and refused to use the pans in his mother’s kitchen because they were “contaminated” by non-halal food. He lost his apprenticeship after repeatedly expressing extremist views at work.
In 2011 he travelled to Egypt, telling his mother he was going to study Arabic, but the following year called to say he was in Somalia and had joined al-Shabaab.
On Christmas Eve 2012, he phoned home and announced he had married a girl of 13 or 14 who could speak no English. In subsequent phone calls, Evans praised the terrorist attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, which claimed more than 60 lives, and told his distraught mother he was preparing for “martyrdom”.
He was killed four months ago during a raid on a Kenyan military base. His wife told Mrs Evans: “I’m happy
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