The Daily Telegraph
Troublemaker with a blood lust sought help over his urges to kill
How bright schoolboy from middle-class family turned to violence that twice landed him in prison
THE terrorist who murdered four innocent people in an attack on Westminster had long harboured a “blood lust” and had sought professional help over his urges to kill, a former close friend has told The Daily Telegraph.
An astonishing picture has emerged of the journey Adrian Ajao took from polite schoolboy from a well-to-do family to Isil-inspired killer who called himself Khalid Masood.
Early photographs of Ajao, one of three brothers, show him smiling broadly in a football team photograph when aged 15.
But within a few years, Ajao, who attended Huntleys Secondary School for Boys in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, had already begun to go off the rails, falling in with the wrong crowd and beginning to drink heavily and take drugs.
Kenton Till, 52, one of his closest school friends, said: “Adrian was a bloody good footballer, one of the best players in the school. He was one of those kids who was very popular. He had a big personality and everyone liked him.
“He was very bright and very good at chemistry.
“But I remember he came to a New Year’s party at my house with a group of lads who were drunk and on something and my parents asked them to leave. After that we sort of lost touch.”
Ajao was 18 when he received his first conviction, for criminal damage in 1983. Over the next 15 years, he would lurch from one scrape to another. But by the mid-1990s, Ajao appeared to have settled down, living with Jane Harvey, the mother of his two daughters, in village of Northiam in Sussex.
It would all turn sour in July 2000 when Ajao, already the village troublemaker, was jailed for slashing the face of Piers Mott, a local pub landlord.
Lee Lawrence, 47, a friend of Ajao’s at the time, said a fight had broken out over claims he had been subjected to a racial slur. Without notice, Ajao, whose mother is white and father is black, pulled out a knife and slashed Mr Mott.
“There were some big boys in the pub, and they couldn’t stop him,” recalled Mr Lawrence, “He was stronger than a bull. If you went for him, he would do you with a knife.
“I was driving past and I saw what was happening. I got out of my truck and said everybody just get back in the pub and leave him with me. His eyes had rolled and he was out of this world.”
Mr Lawrence tried to calm Ajao down, Instead his friend went for him. “He had the knife against my throat and he is going: ‘I want some blood, I want some f---ing blood, I want to kill someone.’
“After he calmed down a bit he was saying: ‘What have I done? What am I doing? I am going for help, I just want blood or I want to kill someone.’
“He said he was having help, some kind of anger management.”
At other times, he had told Mr Lawrence: “I dream about blood. I dream about killing someone.”
The attack on Mott resulted in Ajao being jailed. His relationship with Ms Harvey fell apart.
While he was in jail Ajao converted to Islam and started using the name Khalid Masood.
He moved to a bedsit in the seaside resort of Eastbourne. In 2003 he reportedly stabbed a man in the face, slicing his nose and tongue. Danny Smith, a scaffolder, said part of the knife snapped off in his face in the attack, for which Ajao was eventually acquitted of attempted murder. In the same year Ajao went back to jail for possession of a knife, believed to be in connection with the attack on Mr Smith.
In 2004, a year out of jail, Ajao married Farzana Malik, then aged 25, from Gillingham in Kent. On the marriage certificate, Ajao used his birth name Adrian Russell Elms and gave his profession as a teacher. Elms was his mother’s maiden name while Ajao was his father’s name.
The marriage did not last and Ms Ma- lik now lives in Greater Manchester. A relative of Ms Malik, said Ajao had been “very violent” towards her and “controlling in every aspect of her life”.
“He was a psychopath and I mean that in the very medical definition of the word. He came from a nice family, had everything, but there was something very wrong with him,” the family member told the Daily Mirror.
At one stage she reportedly fled their home with just her clothes and stayed with friends out of fear. She is now believed to have remarried and taken her new husband’s surname.
Ajao maintained contact with his daughters especially his eldest Andi, who at the age of 16 would suffer terrible injuries when hit by a lorry on her way to school in 2008.
Andi, now aged 24, is understood to wear a full face veil and has changed her name. There is no suggestion that she shared her father’s extreme beliefs or knew about his plans to launch Wednesday’s terror attack.
From Eastbourne, Ajao went on the move. He travelled to Saudi Arabia and lived variously in Luton, east London
‘What have I done? What am I doing? I am going for help, I just want blood or I want to kill someone’
and latterly in Birmingham, where he hired the car before launching his murderous onslaught. A recent CV showed he had become an English language teacher in Luton and then in 2012 set up a tutoring business for Arabian students in Birmingham called IQRA.
On the eve of the attack, Ajao drove from Birmingham back to the south coast, checking into the £60-a-night Preston Park Hotel in Brighton. He ate a last evening meal of a kebab and told hotel staff: “I’m off to London today” as if he were on a sightseeing tour.
His parents Philip, 77, and Janet Ajao, 69, who now live on a farm in Wales, have been left devastated. Mrs Ajao, 69, runs a business from the remote farmhouse selling hand-made cushions and handbags. Mr and Mrs Ajao are a model of respectability.
A far cry from the jihadist path their son took before his violent journey was finally halted by a policeman’s bullets.