Alleged Islamic State ‘Beatle’ jailed for terrorism offences

LONDON (Reuters) – A British man once accused of being a member of an Islamic State cell dubbed “The Beatles” because its members had English accents was jailed for eight years on Monday for terrorism offences, London’s Metropolitan Police said.

Aine Davis, 39, was arrested last August after being deported to Britain from Turkey, where he had been convicted of membership of the jihadist group Islamic State, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh.

He was sentenced at London’s Old Bailey on Monday having pleaded guilty to two terrorism fundraising charges and possession of a firearm for terrorist purposes last month.

“Davis arranged for a large sum of money to be smuggled from the UK to fund the terrorist activities of Daesh – a group he had travelled to Syria to join,” Commander Dominic Murphy, who leads the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said in a statement.

“It has been nearly 10 years since Davis committed these crimes and I hope this case sends a message that we will relentlessly pursue and seek to prosecute anyone involved in terrorism both in the UK and abroad, no matter how much time has passed.”

Davis was previously linked to the Islamic State cell assigned to guard foreign prisoners in Syria, dubbed The Beatles by hostages because they were known as English speakers.

The group is alleged to have detained and in some cases killed Western hostages in Syria, including U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid worker Kayla Mueller.

Davis has always denied being part of the cell and his lawyer Mark Summers said at a preliminary hearing last year that U.S. prosecutors did not charge Davis due to evidence there were only three members of the cell.

Two members, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were sentenced to life in prison in the United States. A third member of the group, Mohammed Emwazi, died in a U.S.-British missile strike in Syria in 2015.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; editing by Mark Heinrich)