The dreaded Islamic State militant “Jihadi John” was a “reasonably hardworking” student and showed no sign of radicalisation, his former UK school principal said today.
Jo Shuter, who was head of Quintin Kynaston Academy in north-west London until 2013, said Mohammad Emwazi had not been “seen as a huge concern” as a pupil.
Emwazi, 26, has been named as the man known as “Jihadi John” in several IS hostage videos.
Shuter, who was head teacher for more than 10 years from 2002, said there had been no indication that any pupils were becoming extremist.
“I am not prepared to say when the radicalisation took place. All I can say is absolutely hand on heart, we had no knowledge of it. If we had we would have done something about it,” she said.
“There was never any sense that any of these young men as I knew them were radicalised when they were in school,” BBC quoted her as saying.
She said she remembered Emwazi as “quiet and reasonably hardworking”, though with the usual problems of teenage pupils.
The BBC has also spoken to a man who came across Emwazi when he first arrived in Syria about two years ago.
Abu Ayman, an IS defector, described him as a cold loner who set himself apart from others.
“He was cold. He didn’t talk much. He wouldn’t join us in prayer,” he said.
Emwazi came from Kuwait to the UK as a small child, attending state schools in London before studying computer science at the University of Westminster.
He left for Syria in 2013.
‘Jihadi John’ has been seen in gruesome videos of beheadings of Western hostages.
Emwazi has featured in a series of chilling videos of executions of hostages, some of whom he kills himself.
Emwazi, who holds a degree in computer programming, is shown speaking with a British accent and dressed in a black robe with a black balaclava covering all but his eyes and top of his nose.
He was also known to UK security services who chose not to disclose his identity earlier for operational reasons.
He is believed to have travelled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined the IS, the group whose barbarity he has come to symbolise, the report said.