04 August 2021

Streatham terrorist told mentor he had changed his ways, inquest hears

04 August 2021

A convicted terrorist told a mentor he had changed his ways, three days before going on a high street knife rampage which ended in him being shot dead by police, an inquest heard

Sudesh Amman, 20, confided how he “now realised” that those who committed terrorist acts ended up “pushing people away” from Islam.

Amman made the comments on January 30 2020, three days before he stole a knife and ran down Streatham High Road stabbing randomly at members of the public before being shot dead by police.

CCTV footage of Sudesh Amman walking along Streatham High Road on the day he carried out his attack (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Media)

The mentor, who was referred to as Witness M for legal reasons, described his “disbelief” after seeing reports of the attack on the news as it unfolded.

An inquest into Amman’s death at the Royal Courts of Justice heard Amman had been provided with support from both a practical and a theological mentor, both of whom had met with him following his release from prison earlier in January.

A report prepared by Witness M following the meeting on January 30 described how Amman had seemed “more relaxed in himself” and “happy” to discuss religion with others.

Reading part of the report, Jonathan Hough QC said: “Sudesh Amman told (the mentor) about the Koran, how the teachings in this are ancient.

“You said you were baptised.

“He (Amman) asked what you thought would happen to you when you died, you said you hadn’t thought about it, and he said: ‘you should’.

Witness M told the inquest into Amman’s death that he had been “shocked” when reports of the attack appeared on the news (PA) (PA Wire)

“The mentor asked Sudesh Amman if he was happy to have a debate with people of different faiths. He said he was.

“He said he now realised that people who hurt other people through things like acts of terror were pushing people away from the faith and causing hatred.”

Giving evidence to the inquest on Wednesday, Witness M said of Amman during the final meeting: “He was the most relaxed that I’d seen him.

“He was happy to talk, he had no moments where he held back from saying anything and he seemed happy and relieved at being released.

“I took him at his word. He seemed sincere the way he was saying it.”

Asked by Mr Hough if Amman had been “plausible,” witness M replied: “Yes I believe he was.”

He added that he did not feel the need to report any behaviour of concern about Amman but had later felt “shocked” after reports of the attack emerged.

Sudesh Amman walks from his bail hostel to Streatham High Road, where he carried out his terror attack (Metropolitan Police/PA) (PA Media)

“I just felt – I did feel shocked.

“I saw when it said the incident was in Streatham, I knew I visited him, I hoped it wasn’t (him).

“I kept watching the news and I had a little bit of disbelief, to be honest.”

Amman was automatically released from Belmarsh prison on January 23, part-way through his 40-month sentence for preparing and engaging in acts of terrorism.

The inquest previously heard how prison intelligence suggested he had made threats to kill the Queen, to commit a terrorist act, and radicalise others.

The inquest continues.

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