Jihadi wife in West Midlands homes scandal
The jihadi wife of a notorious British extremist came close to living on our streets – only to refuse the offers, saying they weren't good enough.
A convicted terrorist from London was offered a series of homes in the West Midlands.
The wife of a notorious British extremist came close to living on our streets – only to refuse the offers, saying they were not good enough.
The woman was jailed for terror-related offences and is still considered a danger.
- Express & Star comment: Why should we house terrorists?
But authorities in the London borough of Brent attempted to send her to various homes in our region, including in Wolverhampton, Great Wyrley and Kidderminster.
It is part of a wider trend in which people needing a home in the capital are housed in regions including the Black Country, Worcestershire and Staffordshire.
The woman, who cannot be named, was freed in September 2016 and has since been living in B&Bs and hotels at taxpayers’ expense.
Her attempts to find a permanent home in London ended in frustration and when she complained authorities tried to force her on the West Midlands.
The mother-of-two was offered housing but insisted she was staying put.
The stubborn ex-prisoner turned down four other properties elsewhere in the UK and then sued Brent Council.
Two-bedroom homes in Great Wyrley and Kidderminster were rejected as they were too far from her family.
She then refused another home in Wolverhampton before turning down another for being ‘too expensive’.
Details of the case emerged after Judge Jennifer Eady ruled her human rights had not been violated at the High Court.
She has been granted anonymity.
The woman, who has sons aged five and nine and lives in Brent, North London, also moaned that private landlords refused to deal with her because of her criminal record.
The husband of the jihadi bride left the UK in 2013 and is said to have risen to become an extremist commander.
A year later she was jailed for 28 months for an unspecified terrorist offence.
She was released in July 2015 but went back inside for breaching her licence before coming out again in September 2016.
The woman remains on an intelligence watch-list.
Senior councillors today reacted in horror to the fact the convicted terrorist, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was almost forced on the West Midlands.
Local authorities in the Black Country and Staffordshire have long complained about London councils sending people to their doorstep due to the housing shortage in the capital.
It was revealed last year that hundreds of families had been moved out of London to the Black Country in recent years.
Anger from councillors and MPs
Councillor Wendy Thompson, who leads the Conservatives in Wolverhampton, said questions needed to be asked about what sort of people were being placed in homes in the region.
She said: “I don’t think it would have been very pleasant for the family from Wolverhampton living in fear of what their background might be.
“Plainly if she is on some sort of list it is up to whoever is keeping an eye on things down there but in Wolverhampton I don’t think there are many people who would want this sort of person as a neighbour.”
She added: “It seems to be a rather shadowy area. I don’t think there is enough information on how the area is being managed. This is an example of what could well be going on.”
The leader of South Staffordshire Council, Brian Edwards, was alarmed to discover the woman convicted of a terror-related offence could have been living in Great Wyrley.
He said: “We would be concerned about this if it was going to happen but obviously we would have to look at the rules and regulations.”
He added: “If there was a record of threat that she could be a terrorist we probably wouldn’t like the idea very much.
"Even with asylum seekers we would not be able to take them in because we literally haven’t got any housing.”
Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden said: “This is part of a broader pattern where councils in London are seeking to relocate people to parts of the country where rents are lower and properties are cheaper.
"This is driven by the cap on housing benefits and the desire to save money on rental payments.
"Of course, we already have a significant waiting list for people in Wolverhampton who are seeking housing."
The number of people being sent from London has been a significant problem in Sandwell.
The borough council leader Steve Eling said: “It’s an issue for us, whether they are jihadis or anything else.
“It’s a big problem because the London boroughs don’t tell us they are housing people here or even worse they have housed people in Smethwick and told Birmingham.
“It’s even more of a problem if there are vulnerable children, we ought to be made aware. There are families there and we don’t know.
“It’s not good for the families concerned. People end up living 100-plus miles away from the rest of their family and friends and don’t know anyone.”
He called for action to be taken in the capital, adding: “The solution is attending to the drastic housing situation in London so we haven’t got a situation where they are displaced all around the country. It is not the fault of the people who get displaced it is the fault of the housing crisis in the UK and we end up picking up some of the pieces.”