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Church of England minister found out from online video that her Muslim convert son had died fighting for ISIS in Syria

  • Jake Petty, who converted to Islam aged 15, joined ISIS in Syria in 2014 
  • Former Church of England schoolboy said to have died in October 2015
  • He last emailed his parents just days earlier defending murderous group
  • Parents did not find out until police showed them video of his dead body
  • Mrs Boyce was giving evidence against her son’s friend who is accused of helping two others leave the country to join ISIS

A Church of England minister has told of how she learned of her jihadi son’s death through a video posted online.

Reverend Sue Boyce said she was ‘horrified’ to discover her son Jake Petty, who went by the alias Abu Yaqoob Britani, had fled the UK to join ISIS in Syria in July 2014.

He continued to stay in touch with his distraught family over WhatsApp but ‘went quiet’ in mid August.

Petty, a former Church of England Schoolboy who converted to Islam when he was 15, sent a final email to his family on October 26, 2014 – days before he died.

In the message entitled ‘New Life’, he defended the murderous group by saying ‘we are not a load of backward, bloodthirsty terrorists’ and claimed ‘nobody has been brainwashed or tricked’.

His parents found out about his death when police showed them internet footage of his dead body on October 30, the Old Bailey heard.

Fighting tears Susan Boyce gave told the court: ‘It was the sort of email that, when it arrived, you read it and wished you weren’t reading it and there’d be another one saying it was a nasty joke.’

Petty was 25 years old when he was killed while fighting for ISIS.

His bereaved mother told the Old Bailey that Petty attended the Blue Coat secondary school, in Walsall and left after finishing his GCSEs, aged 16.

Rev Boyce said her son had moved to Egypt to study after finishing a degree at London University’s prestigious School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS).

She said: ‘I had no indication that he was thinking of going to Syria. We had got together and watched news of the uprising.


‘Unless he was bluffing, he was quite shocked by some of the things that were going on, and over the beheadings, and that Sunnis [Muslims] were involved.

‘We had a family WhatsApp group and he would send funny things, like him crossing the road to show how busy it was. Everyone from the family did a copy of that wherever they lived.’

He eventually phoned to say he was ‘on the borders of Syria as an aid worker’ and claimed he had lost his phone, but eventually phoned them on the same number.

Rev Boyce said: ‘I was horrified, I said don’t be stupid, don’t do it, but he said it was as an aid worker.’

Petty then went quiet until he emailed his family on October 26 to tell them he was training to be a soldier.

He added: ‘I’m sorry for not being upfront about my intention to come here, but I feared you may have tried to stop me, which I could not risk. Since becoming a Muslim I have never been happy living in the UK.

‘We are not a load of backward, bloodthirsty terrorists, but just people who want to live somewhere where society revolves around religion and not the other way round.

‘Nobody has been brainwashed or tricked, I am training to be a soldier because the whole world are united against us.’

‘By now you would have realised what all this means; unfortunately I won’t ever be coming back to the UK…I know none of this is easy for you and you [may] never forgive me but it’s not my intention for you to worry [or] be sad.

‘Yes the chances of me getting hurt



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