Ex-punk rocker who turned her lit­tle boy into an IS fa­natic

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Sue Reid

The pride in her face is that of any mum show­ing off her new­born baby. Smil­ing for the cam­era in the ma­ter­nity suite of a Kent hos­pi­tal as she cups tiny Joe in his blue Baby­gro, she was plain Sally Jones when the pic­ture was taken in 2004.

There was noth­ing in the photo, which she sent to the ‘fam­ily al­bum’ page of the lo­cal news­pa­per, to sug­gest the hor­rors that would un­fold.

No hint that Sally Jones was to be­come a woman so twisted and de­void of hu­man­ity that a few years later she would snatch the in­no­cent child from the life he loved in Bri­tain, drag him to Syria and force him to join the ji­had as a mem­ber of IS.

Noth­ing to in­di­cate that the lit­tle boy would strike the world dumb with hor­ror when, aged 11, he was seen in IS fa­tigues, hold­ing a gun to a Kur­dish pris­oner’s head as he pre­pared to ex­e­cute him.

Yet de­spite her happy pose in the ma­ter­nity ward, Sally Jones’s life when the pho­to­graph was taken was al­ready head­ing for the abyss.

She was drink­ing heav­ily and tak­ing drugs, and was reg­u­larly vis­ited by dealers at her two-bed­room coun­cil house in the Med­way town of Chatham.

her re­la­tion­ship with Joe’s fa­ther, for­mer fork­lift truck driver Dar­ren Dixon, who is pic­tured with her, was short-lived and she was soon a sin­gle mum. She was also suf­fer­ing from post­na­tal de­pres­sion and spent much of her day in bed.

her work as a per­fume sales­woman was spo­radic at best, and she claimed ben­e­fits — but she was so short of money she was con­stantly in debt and us­ing food banks, with bailiffs call­ing at her door.

Be­fore long she was dump­ing her lit­tle boy with her mother and step­fa­ther, some­times for weeks on end. With them, he en­joyed an idyl­lic fam­ily life.

Mean­while, Jones’s lonely de­scent con­tin­ued. her Kent neigh­bours paint a pic­ture of a woman who was deeply un­sta­ble. And it was into this feck­less, chaotic world that Is­lamic State came call­ing.

US­INg a cheap com­puter in her sit­ting room, Jones went on an in­ter­net dat­ing site and met wouldbe ter­ror­ist and com­puter hacker Ju­naid hus­sain, a Birm­ing­ham school din­ner lady’s way­ward son who, at 19, was 25 years her ju­nior.

It was the start of the ter­ri­fy­ing se­ries of events that trans­formed plain Sally Jones into the world’s most wanted fe­male ter­ror­ist and a dan­ger­ously ef­fi­cient re­cruiter of Bri­tish girls to the IS cause.

For hus­sain mes­merised her at once. Soon, she was telling neigh­bours that she had ‘fallen in love’ with a ‘Mus­lim guy’ who wanted to ‘do ji­had’.

his com­puter ex­per­tise meant he had al­ready fallen foul of the law and served a jail sen­tence for hack­ing into the per­sonal email ac­count of a for­mer spe­cial ad­viser to Tony Blair and il­lic­itly ob­tain­ing con­fi­den­tial ad­dresses and phone num­bers.

After plead­ing guilty to a fur­ther charge of vi­o­lent dis­or­der, he skipped bail and es­caped from Bri­tain to Syria.

Jones, who was raised as a Ro­man Catholic, had con­verted to Is­lam ear­lier that year and, un­der the spell of hus­sain, was soon mak­ing plans to join him with nine-year-old Joe.

The lit­tle boy was fright­ened at the idea of leav­ing Bri­tain. Joe loved be­ing in his grand­mother’s gar­den, play­ing with toys and look­ing out for foxes.

‘he loved an­i­mals and was so kind, he’d never even tread on an ant. That’s why his grand­mother can’t un­der­stand what hap­pened to him,’ said a fam­ily friend.

he had trou­ble sleep­ing and told his grand­mother, who by then looked after him every week­end, that his mother was about to take him away.

When chal­lenged by her, Jones lied. She said Joe had made a mis­take and they were sim­ply go­ing on hol­i­day to Turkey. In fact they headed for Raqqa in Syria, hot on the heels of hus­sain.

Once there, Jones mar­ried her lover, chang­ing her name to Sak­i­nah hus­sain. Joe’s name was changed to hamza and he was forced to call hus­sain his ‘dad’.

hus­sain, who be­came head of the IS com­puter-hack­ing bri­gade, died in a U.S. drone strike two years ago. Jones tweeted how proud she was that he was ‘killed by the big­gest en­emy of Al­lah’, adding that she would ‘never love any­one but him’.

By this stage, blonde-haired Jones had be­come a no­to­ri­ous fig­ure in her own right. She called her­self Umm hus­sain AlBri­tani, ped­dled vile IS pro­pa­ganda into the UK via so­cial me­dia sites and was nick­named ‘The White Widow’ by West­ern se­cu­rity forces.

As if em­bold­ened by hus­sain’s death, she be­came leader of the se­cret An­war Al-Awlaki bat­tal­ion’s fe­male wing, with re­spon­si­bil­ity for train­ing euro­pean fe­male ter­ror re­cruits. Last year she is­sued a se­ries of spe­cific ter­ror­ist threats, in­clud­ing call­ing on Mus­lim women to launch at­tacks in Lon­don, glas­gow and Wales dur­ing Ra­madan.

She was linked to sev­eral failed IS plots, in­clud­ing one to tar­get the Queen and Prince Philip at VJ Day cel­e­bra­tions in 2015.

But there were suc­cesses. Jones pub­lished the names of more than 1,300 U.S. Armed Forces per­son­nel, many of whom were serv­ing at UK air bases, that her hus­band had hacked.

In one tweet to her Bri­tish fol­low­ers, she wrote: ‘You can’t just sit there with your tea and scones or­der­ing drone strikes on UK broth­ers with no come­back from the Is­lamic State.’

In an­other, she said she wanted to kill a West­ern pris­oner in Syria and longed to be­head Chris­tians with a ‘blunt knife’.

She be­gan to use Joe in sick­en­ing pro­mo­tional videos for IS.

LAST night it was not known if blue-eyed Joe had been killed in the U.S. drone strike. It was feared the brain­washed 12-year-old was used as a hu­man shield by his mother and died at her side.

If that is true, it shows how far Sally Jones was pre­pared to take her grotesque IS fa­nati­cism.

She was born the only daugh­ter of green­gro­cer turned lorry driver Alan Jones and his wife Jacky. her older brother runs a busi­ness in the home Coun­ties and, per­haps not sur­pris­ingly, has al­ways re­fused to talk about his sis­ter.

Their par­ents di­vorced after her birth and Jones was just ten when her fa­ther com­mit­ted sui­cide. her mother went on to marry the di­rec­tor of a haulage com­pany, rais­ing both the chil­dren in South­east Lon­don be­fore set­tling in a leafy vil­lage in Kent.

Those who knew the fam­ily back then say they were close and lov­ing. Jones, how­ever, left school at 16 and, while work­ing on and off as a beau­ti­cian, be­came in­ter­ested in punk mu­sic, started

dress­ing in skimpy leather miniskirts and be­gan turn­ing to the bot­tle.

For a time she played bass gui­tar in an all-girl band called Krunch, who per­formed across the South-East in the 1990s. It gave her a taste of suc­cess, a chance to make some­thing of her life.

But when she be­came preg­nant with her then on-off boyfriend, labourer Jonathan Wilkinson, her mu­sic ca­reer came to a shud­der­ing halt.

In­stead, Jones took to liv­ing in a tent with Wilkinson even though their re­la­tion­ship was any­thing but strong. They of­ten broke up and en­tered other re­la­tion­ships be­fore patch­ing things up.

But two years after Jones’s first son, Jonathan, was born in 1996, 29-year-old Wilkinson died from cir­rho­sis of the liver, leav­ing her to bring up the boy alone with the help of her mother.

Jones was even­tu­ally given a coun­cil house, but she of­ten left Jonathan with her mother and step­fa­ther Terry.

Neigh­bours de­scribed how she would visit them driv­ing a con­verted bus. ‘She was a to­tal hippy at that time,’ said one. ‘She used to visit most week­ends.’

Ac­cord­ing to the neigh­bour: ‘They took the boy on, prob­a­bly from about the age of ten. They looked after him right through se­condary school. He would go and stay with Sally oc­ca­sion­ally...’

Jonathan, who re­fused to go with his mother to Syria, is now 21, thought to live in Kent and has a three-year-old child — which made Jones a grand­mother.

‘Sally was very scatty,’ the neigh­bour added. ‘Ev­ery­thing was al­ways a drama. Her lan­guage wasn’t very good. She was ex­tremely loud. She was a lady with prob­lems as far as I could tell.’

It was into this dys­func­tional set-up that Joe was born 13 years ago, after Jones met Dar­ren Dixon, now 40. It could all have been so dif­fer­ent. In an in­ter­view re­cently, her step­fa­ther Terry ex­plained how Jones threw away her chances. ‘I brought her up since she was lit­tle,’ he said. ‘To me, she was my daugh­ter. She was a beau­ti­ful and very in­tel­li­gent woman. She would pick things up quickly that would take other peo­ple weeks to learn.

‘Un­for­tu­nately she lost it all, ini­tially to drugs. It’s a ter­ri­ble waste.’

Of his ‘grand­son’ Joe and that pic­ture of him in IS fa­tigues, Terry said sim­ply: ‘I couldn’t be­lieve it. I feel so sad, so sorry.’

Be­fore news of the White Widow’s death, Joe’s fa­ther Dar­ren — now be­lieved to be liv­ing in Birm­ing­ham with a new girl­friend — lamented the son he lost to IS: ‘He was bril­liant, just a nor­mal boy — al­ways chas­ing bugs, go­ing down the park.’

There were ru­mours a few months ago that Jones had hoped to re­turn to Bri­tain but was stopped by Hus­sain’s IS com­rades and by the im­pas­sioned pleas of on­cein­no­cent Joe, by then so in­doc­tri­nated that he was a fully-fledged ‘cub of the caliphate’, car­ing for noth­ing but IS.

What­ever the truth, the beau­ti­cian and punk rocker from ob­scu­rity who be­came one of the most wanted ter­ror­ists in the world never did try to re­turn.

In­stead, she was even­tu­ally wiped out by the West and to­day few peo­ple, apart from her fel­low IS stal­warts, could pos­si­ble grieve for her.

‘She was beau­ti­ful and in­tel­li­gent but lost it all to drugs’

Brain­washed: New­born Joe with Dar­ren and Sally and, above, the IS killer

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