A Coventry teenager who converted to Islam and wanted to become a 'jihadi bride' has been jailed after preparing to travel to Syria and fight for Islamic State.
Sandeep Samra, an 18-year-old former student, planned to marry a man from Egypt and join Isis with him. Despite having previously been offered support by the Government's Prevent programme, she remained committed to fight for jihad before being foiled by officers who monitored her social media conversations.
Samra was arrested in July 2017 by officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit. She pleaded guilty earlier this week at Birmingham Crown Court to being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism, and was handed a three-and-a-half year prison sentence today (Friday January 26).
Officers found her to be in contact via social media apps with a number of unknown people abroad, where she openly discussed her support for Isis and her desire to travel to the war zone.
Samra's family first raised concerns her when she converted to Islam in 2015. She was referred to the Government’s Prevent programme in an attempt to divert her away from terrorism and violence, and her passport was handed over to police by her family.
In June last year, Samra tried to apply for a new passport, sparking further concerns that she was still intent on travelling.
During her trial, Samra pleaded guilty to attempting to travel to Syria but claimed it was to be a nurse rather than commit violence. However she was convicted of intending to commit terrorist acts by Judge Melbourne Inman after a trial of issue, when her basis of plea was not accepted by the prosecution.
Birmingham counter-terror chief Matt Ward said: "Samra’s phone was examined and officers found evidence of her support for Daesh [Isis] and her intent on travelling to Syria or other areas controlled by Daesh. She dismissed warnings of the dangers for women in the conflict and even declared her intention to seek her own death.
"The contents gave insight into Samra’s mindset and showed she was developing an active interest in Daesh and Jihadi ideology.
"She had several conversations on messaging apps over the fact her passport had been taken off her and sought help in getting a false one or even fake documentation that she could travel on. She also had conversations regarding ways in which she could be smuggled out of the country, how she could then make her way to Syria and the routes available to her.
"Police also uncovered conversations with a man who appeared to live in Egypt during which they declared their love for each other and a desire to get married. Once married they planned to travel to Syria to take part in Jihad.
"We tried to support Samra through the Prevent programme and ultimately help her turn her life around but unfortunately all efforts that were made were ignored by her and she now faces a prison sentence."