A Muslim convert who was caught trying to join Isis when his pregnant wife ‘snitched’ on him has been jailed for five years.
Ismael Watson, born Jack Watson, managed to reach Turkey in January 2016 but was stopped by authorities and sent back to Britain as he tried to cross the border into Syria.
Sentencing him at the Old Bailey, Judge Anuja Dhir QC told him: ‘The evidence in this case proved that at the time of the offences you held deep and extensive radicalised beliefs that were demonstrated by the large volume of extremist material found on your mobile phone, and your positive and stated support for Islamic State and those involved in jihad.
‘You wanted to fight for Islamic State and you demonstrated a willingness to kill for them.’
The 27-year-old converted to Islam and married Sharmina Begum in 2015.
They moved into a shared house in Walsall but the relationship broke down as Watson became radicalised, with his wife calling police to share her concerns.
Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC told jurors Watson made his way to Turkey and sought help to cross the Syrian border via online contacts, but didn’t realise he was speaking to undercover security service agents.
In a conversation on March 30 last year, an officer asked him if he had been ‘hot’ before he left Britain, and Watson replied: ‘Yes I was hot. My wife snitched on me and left. While pregnant told them everything.’
Asked what jobs he would do in Syria, Watson said he could help with film-making, proof-reading and cooking.
In encrypted Telegram chats with another officer, he said he slicked back his hair to look more Syrian but admitted ‘can only change face so much’.
Watson came from a non-Muslim family in Liverpool and was described by his mother as ‘meek, mild and easily influenced’.
He had denied preparing for acts of terrorism and opted to represent himself, but refused to attend court.
He was found guilty in his absence after a two-day retrial.
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