Woolwich suspect Michael Adebolajo came to the attention of MI5 after he appeared in court in Kenya on suspicion of planning to fight for a terrorist group.
Adebolajo was arrested with five others in November 2010. All were said to have been heading for neighbouring Somalia, where they had been recruited by Al-Shabaab, the Islamist insurgent organisation.
Adebolajo, who was filmed after the Woolwich slaughter with blood on his hands, was deported without being charged.It was soon after his return to Britain, a close friend claims, that MI5 earmarked him as a potential informant and began assiduously courting him.The Mail on Sunday has been told:
- Intelligence officers offered Adebolajo money and gave him a mobile phone;
- Adebolajo was asked to spy on a group of Muslims with links to Al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen;
- He resisted their attempts to ‘turn’ him and complained to lawyers he was being harassed.
He complained that they [MI5] kept wanting to talk to him and his family. They kept coming round his family home and wanted to meet him regularly. We said if he wanted to deal with it properly, he should give us the number they [MI5] had given him and we would call them.
‘He was very paranoid about the whole thing. But he didn’t come back so we didn’t do anything else with him.’