LONDON: A convicted terrorist told his mentor that he had changed, days before carrying out a knife rampage in south London which ended when he was shot dead by police, an inquest has heard.
Sudesh Amman, 20, told his allocated mentor that he had “now realized” that terrorists were “pushing people away” from Islam.
Amman made the comments on Jan. 30, 2020, seven days after his early release from prison and just three days before he suddenly stole a knife from a shop in Streatham and stabbed two unsuspecting members of the public. He was fatally shot by covert police officers who were tasked with keeping him under surveillance. Both of his victims survived.
An inquest into his death at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London heard yesterday that Amman pledged his allegiance to Daesh in prison and that he told prisoners he “wanted to kill the Queen.”
The inquest was told that the Sri Lankan-born terrorist was offered support from a theological mentor to deal with his extreme brand of Islam and a practical mentor to help him adapt to life beyond prison.
He had met both of them following his release from prison.
His mentors told the court that they were “shocked” and “gobsmacked” when they recognized Amman as the perpetrator of the shocking attack on Feb. 2, 2020.
One of his mentors had a testimony following a meeting with Amman read out in court: “He (Amman) said he now realized that people who hurt other people through things like acts of terror were pushing people away from the faith and causing hatred.”
The witness said Amman had been “the most relaxed that I have seen him” in the last of their four meetings in person, which took place in HMP Belmarsh and after his release.
The mentor, who was known as “Witness M” to retain their anonymity, said: “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.”
The mentor said that he felt there was no behavior of concern to report, but was “shocked” when he saw details of the incident in Streatham unfolding.
Witness M said: “I saw when it said the incident was in Streatham, I knew I visited him, I hoped it was not (him). I kept watching the news and I had a little bit of disbelief, to be honest.”
The other mentor, referred to as “Witness T,” told the inquest that he discussed religious matters with Amman during their only meeting on Jan. 29.
Witness T said Amman showed that he was “ignorant” of Islam during their meeting. Amman told Witness T that he was keeping to himself in the week after his release at a Streatham probation hostel out of fear that people believed he was radicalizing others.
Witness T said he found out about the attack on Streatham high street on the same day it occurred.
“I was gobsmacked, I was shocked, I was surprised,” he said.