Terrorist: Khuram Butt, 27, managed to get a job on the Tube four months after he appeared on a documentary about British jihadis. He is pictured in May 2016 at West Kensington station during his training period
The leader of the London Bridge attackers was given a security job on the London Underground checking for suspicious packages the year before the terrorist outrage that killed eight people and injured 48, an inquest heard today.
Transport For London bosses gave Butt a job at Southward Underground Station dealing with station security including suspect packages and fire and safety equipment in May 2016 on a salary of £23,300 a year.
He was offered the job despite having appeared in Channel 4 documentary The Jihadis Next Door and demonstrated alongside hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
Just over a year later Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, used a hired Renault van to plough into crowds on London Bridge and then stabbed revellers in Borough Market with 12-inch ceramic knives on June 3, 2017.
Butt was employed by TFL after receiving a ‘positive reference’ from former employer Auriga Holdings in East Ham, where he worked from 2012 to 2015 before being made redundant – the firm ran back office operations for the KFC takeaway chain.
Warning signs flared as far back as May 2013 when Butt had joined firebrand Choudary for a demonstration on Westminster’s College Green, the day after off-duty soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby was murdered by extremists.
A former colleague of Butt’s later revealed he had said Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killing was ‘an eye for an eye’ after the murder.
Butt’s brother-in-law also called the police after he supported a film released by ISIS in February 2015 showing thugs pouring petrol over Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh and burning him to death.
Butt is pictured on ‘The Jihadis Next Door’ which aired on January 20, 2016. Jonathan Hough QC, for the coroner, told the Old Bailey how TfL had carried out a background check but that it ‘appeared not to have picked up on the Jihadis Next Door programme a few months previously’.
Other non-suspect jobs undertaken by the terrorist include an office assistant at a Wimbledon removal firm, a volenteer position at Newham Acton Against Domestic Violence, part-time jobs at Favourite Pizza and a job in the stock room at Top Shop on Oxford Street.
In July 2015, Butt was filmed for the Channel 4 documentary ‘The Jihadis Next Door’ outside the Regent’s Park mosque praying in front of the black standard of ISIS.
Later that year Transport for London (TfL) hired Butt after Choudary had visited his home during the Muslim festival of Ramadan.
Soon after starting at TFL, he went on sick leave with a doctors note claiming the company shoes were giving him knee pain.
Butt was responsible for ‘conducting security searches’ at Southwark Underground Station, the inquest was told.
DCI Wayne Jolley told how the terrorist had access to London Underground stations in a ‘security capacity’ through the job, but spent ‘very little time indeed’ at work.
Jonathan Hough QC, for the coroner, told the Old Bailey how TfL had carried out a background check but that it ‘appeared not to have picked up on the Jihadis Next Door programme a few months previously’.
Butt had been fired from a number of jobs including the one at TfL after he took extended sick leave claiming that the standard issue shoes were hurting his feet.
As far back as May 2013, Butt had joined firebrand Anjem Choudary for a demonstration on Westminster’s College Green, the day after off-duty soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby was murdered by extremist. Choudary is pictured earlier this month walking along the road close to his home in East London – his electronic tag can be seen in his left sock
Butt had planned to move to Syria to fight for ISIS in early 2015 but that his father-in-law Abdul Rehman-Butt had destroyed and a one way ticket to prevent him from travelling.
Friend Hamza Raza told investigators: ‘He met Choudary when he had gone round to Butt’s home once during the Ramadan period.’
Butt taught children, aged seven, the Koran
Butt and Zaghba both taught at Ad-Deen Primary School in Oxford Road, Ilford where Sophie Rahman was the head teacher.
Ms Rahman’s husband, Sajeel Sahid, was involved with the gym and had been linked to a number of extremists, the inquest was told.
He was teaching Koran classes for two hours each afternoon from Monday to Friday, to classes of six or seven boys and girls, aged between seven and nine years of age.
After the attacks, the school was closed and Rahman was the subject of disciplinary action for employing Butt without a criminal records check and despite his appearance on the film the Jihadi Nextdoor.
Mr Raza said Butt was energized in Choudary’s company and ‘like a lion out of a cage when Choudary was around’.
As a young man, Butt was a ‘normal guy’ who played football, supported Arsenal and smoked tobacco and cannabis, Mr Raza told police.
His sister, Haleema Butt, said that until late 2012, he was a ‘party animal’ but when she got married, he asked her to cover her face and to delete videos of him dancing at her wedding.
He terminated a relationship with one girlfriend because she refused to convert to Islam.
Before his marriage he had met his wife Zahrah Rehman twice – the first time when he was nine and she 13. A week after the second meeting, in December 2013, they agreed to marry.
At his wedding his wife wore the full niqab face veil, covering her eyes and men and women were segregated and the couple went on honeymoon to Pakistan in February 2014.
He had asked his brother-in-law, Hasim Rehman, to teach him more about Islam and was initially ‘soft and humble’, but later became ‘very rigid in his belief’ and would call Shia Muslims non-believers.
He told Mr Raza: ‘You are not supposed to follow the rules of the country follow your own Islamic rules and regulations. Their rules and regulations are not for us. British rules are wrong.’
Butt’s father-in-law Abdul Rehman-Butt said that as the situation in Syria was deteriorated, he would change the TV channel but Butt would talk about jihad and showed an interest in travelling to Syria.
Butt’s brother-in-law called the police after he supported a film released by ISIS in February 2015 showing thugs pouring petrol over Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh (pictured in the film) and burning him to death
It resulted in a family argument at Butt’s home in which Mr Rehman-Butt took his son-in-law’s passport and destroyed it, along with a one-way ticket to Syria, threatening to disown him.
His wife said that Butt wanted to help those in Syria but she feared he was being influenced by others.
He expressed an interest in living and working in Arab country and enrolled Greenwich Community College in September 2014 on a course to teach English as a foreign language.
However, his pregnant wife had a brain aneurism and he dropped out of the course to look after her.
In August 2016, he finally passed the course at Language Link, London in Earl’s Court, but one he realised he required a degree to use the qualification abroad, he gave up on the idea.
Usman Darr, another brother-in-law was concerned that Butt wanted to travel to Syria, and said he would often claim there was a ‘comprehensive’ healthcare and education system.
He challenged him after Butt defended the execution of captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasabed who was burned to death in cage in sickening scenes streamed over the internet, and Darr’s mother had to separate the two of them.
Darr was ‘very concerned so contacted the anti-terrorist hotline to report his brother in law on September 30 2015,’ DCI Wayne Jolley told the inquest.
Hamza Raza had also developed concerns and was aware that while working for Auriga Holdings, running the back office for KFC between 201, and 2015, he was watching beheading videos and listening to the radical preacher Abdullah el-Faisal and other preachers.
Mr Raza claimed to have contacted the authorities in 2015, although police could find no trace of the contact.
He told police that Butt ‘would have gone to Syria had it not been for his family begging him to stay, and had very strong views about the West killing innocent Muslims,’ Mr Jolley said.
Butt was also watching Youtube videos of Choudary, and was taking part in dawah proselytising stall in Whitechapel, Stratford and East Ham in 2014 and 2015.
The three terrorists ploughed into crowds on London Bridge and then stabbed revellers in Borough Market with 12-inch ceramic knives on June 3, 2017. Picture shows CCTV footage issued by the Metropolitan Police of the van driving over the bridge before the attack
Mr Jolley told the court: ‘Raza told us he met Choudary when he went to Butt’s home for Ramadan and that he was energised in Choudary’s company. He said Butt was like a lion out of a cage when Choudary was around.’
The inquest also today heard that the London Bridge attackers were unlikely to have become more aggressive as a result of taking bodybuilding steroids before their rampage, an inquest has heard.
Butt, Redouane and Youssef Zaghba were shot dead by police less than 10 minutes after the rampage.
Toxicologist Professor David Cowan rejected the suggestion they had been ‘juiced up’ on steroids, in order to make them more aggressive.
Jonathan Hough, QC, counsel for the coroner, asked: ‘What is the chance of the use of steroids affecting one or more of them behaviourally?’
Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba were ‘likely to have taken bodybuilding steroids’ – but the drugs didn’t make them more aggressive, an inquest has heard
A map of the London Bridge area shows where each of the victims were injured
Prof Cowan said DHEA, an anabolic steroid, was more likely than not administered to the attackers before they carried out the attack.
But he said he thought it’s ‘highly unlikely’ that steroid use had any behavioural effect on any of the individuals.
He told the court evidence the attackers appeared ‘hyper’ or ‘wild eyed’ did not necessarily indicate they were affected.
A forensic scientist confirmed that one of the victims, Xavier Thomas, had been hit by the attackers’ van before he fell into the Thames.
Dr Louissa Marsh said examination of the Renault van and Mr Thomas’s jeans provided ‘strong support’ for the proposition they were in contact.
An examination of particles in the van showed suspected driver Zaghba, 22, was closest to the deployment of the air bag.
But she was unable to prove he was behind the wheel from the forensic evidence alone.
Mr Thomas, 45, Christine Archibald, 30, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, James McMullan, 32, and Ignacio Echeverria, 39 all died in the atrocity.
The inquest into the victims’ deaths continues.
From cannabis-smoking rap fan to radicalised extremist glorying in ISIS’ sickest stunts: How Khuram Butt became ringleader of London Bridge attacks
Pakistani-born Briton Khuram Butt is understood to have come to the UK in 1998 from Pakistan with his family on a visitors visa at the age of 8.
They were initially refused asylum but were granted indefinite leave to remain following an appeal in 2004.
Butt had worked at Topshop on Oxford Street in late 2008 and also as a cashier at a pizza takeaway shop around the same time.
After studying IT and business communication in 2009, Butt went on to work at a removals firm between late 2009 and early 2012.
His manager at Eco Movers told investigators that teenage Butt ‘was into a bit of gangsta rap and liked to smoke cannabis’ and ‘liked to make out he was some type of east London bad man’.
Pakistani-born Briton Khuram Butt is understood to have come to the UK in 1998 from Pakistan with his family on a visitors visa at the age of 8
Colleagues described him Butt as ‘polite, respectful, shy but also able to hold his own.’
He was made redundant from that job in March 2012 and moved onto Auriga Holdings, a company that managed KFC franchises in east London.
When off-duty soldier Lee Rigby was murdered in London by terrorists in May 2013, he said it was ‘an eye for an eye’, one of his colleagues claims.
The day after the soldiers brutal murder, he joined hate preacher Anjem Choudary for a demonstration on Westminster’s College Green, which was held in support of the attack.
He would later become a supporter and trusted lieutenant of Choudary and he helped run high-octane mixed martial arts classes at a gym where he approach young people for radicalisation, according to The Times.
Butt married Zahrah Rehman in December 2013 and that when she suffered a brain aneurysm he was caring.
Butt’s increasing radicalisation, much of which came through YouTube videos, changed his behaviour towards his wife and he started pushing Zahrah to allow him to have a second wife.
Butt’s family became increasingly concerned with his behaviour after he was barred from a number of mosques for interrupting with the imams.
Butt’s brother-in-law called the police after he supported a film released by ISIS in February 2015 showing thugs pouring petrol over Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh and burning him to death.
The pair had to be separated by their mother after they pair rowed about the film.
In July 2015, Butt was filmed for the Channel 4 documentary ‘The Jihadis Next Door’ outside the Regent’s Park mosque praying in front of the black standard of ISIS.
Butt could be heard on camera saying: ‘The government is extreme. They have killed the most people. They are the extremists.’
Choudary visited Butt’s home during the Muslim festival of Ramadan in 2015.
Transport for London (TfL) gave Butt a job in May 2016. His role was checking suspicious packages at Southwark Tube station.
He was reportedly sacked from the job at Canada Water station in the Docklands after six months for poor attendance.
In June 2017, Butt and two accomplices used a hired Renault van to plough into crowds on London Bridge and then stabbed revellers in Borough Market with 12-inch ceramic knives on June 3, 2017. Ten minutes after their rampage started the trio were shot dead by police. Eight people were killed in the atrocity while another 48 were injured.
Pictured: the battered Renault van used by terrorists during the attack on London Bridge in 2017, leaving it with its bumper hanging off
The terrorists tied 12-inch knives to their wrists with tape before they launched their attack
Who were the victims of the London Bridge terror attack?
Spaniard Ignacio Echeverria was stabbed to death as he tried to fight off the terrorist attackers with his skateboard.
The 39-year-old had been in the UK for over a year was working as a financial crime analyst at HSBC.
Mr Echeverria joined unarmed police constables Wayne Marques and Charlie Guenigault in fighting off the three attackers as they set upon Marie Bondeville, hitting at least one terrorist with his skateboard.
‘His courageous efforts were to seek to stop the attack,’ Chief Coroner Mark Lucraft said.
Mr Echeverria was the youngest of five siblings and was a Catholic who went to mass every week. He could speak English, German and French fluently.
Nurse Kirsty Boden was fatally stabbed as she tried to tend to the wounded and the dying.
Miss Boden, 28, moved to London in 2013 from the small town of Loxton, in South Australia.
She was a senior staff nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and lived with her British boyfriend James Hodder in a flat in Hampstead.
Mr Hodder said: ‘She loved people and loved her life helping others. To Kirsty, her actions that night would have been an extension of how she lived her life.’
Alexandre Pigeard was working as a waiter at Boro Bistro when he was attacked.
The 26-year-old Frenchman had moved to London to further his ambitions as a dance music DJ.
Minutes before he was fatally stabbed, he video-called his father Philippe during a break from work at the French restaurant.
Mr Pigeard had planned to return to France in the autumn of 2017 to help open a restaurant in Nantes and to record an EP with his musician father.
Mr Pigeard senior told the inquest: ‘I’m present here as a devastated father who has lost a child in such circumstances – an inconsolable father.’
James McMullan was stabbed in the chest near the Barrowboy and Banker pub while he was celebrating getting financial backing for his online education company.
The British-Filipino entrepreneur was watching the Champions League final with friends in the pub.
The 32-year-old, from Hackney in East London, was attacked when he stepped outside to have a cigarette.
He had dreamed of helping children without access to education through his e-learning company.
Mr McMullan’s father Simon described his son as ‘funny, charming and clever’ and said ‘his fearlessness could never be underestimated’.
The mother of chef Sebastien Belanger said she does not forgive the terrorists who ‘mutilated and killed him’.
Her 36-year-old son was drinking at the Boro Bistro when he was stabbed repeatedly in the chest.
His mother Josiane Belanger said: ‘We miss him so much, his smile, his joie de vivre. I do not forgive what they did to him.’
Originally from Angers in western France, Mr Belanger started work at the Coq d’Argent in the City and was promoted to the role of head chef.
Australian au pair Sara Zelenak was on the ‘trip of a lifetime’ when she was stabbed to death while on a night out with a friend.
Miss Zelenak’s mother Julie Wallace said ‘every sliding door’ put her daughter in ‘harm’s way’.
‘She was meant to be working and at the last minute she got the night off,’ Mrs Wallace said.
‘At 10pm Sara’s phone rang and her friend said ‘I’ve finished at the rugby’ and so she left her safe haven and walked out into a terrorist attack and was stabbed to death.’
Before leaving for UK in March 2017, Miss Zelenak worked with her stepfather Mark as a crane truck operator in Brisbane to save up for her trip.
Her parents have since set up Sarz Sanctuary to help other families to cope with grief.
Xavier Thomas was walking over London Bridge with his girlfriend Christine Delcros when they were hit by the van.
The 45-year-old father-of-two was catapulted into the Thames and his girlfriend suffered life-changing injuries. His body was recovered downstream three days later.
Mr Thomas, who had arrived in London on the day of the attack, lived near Paris and worked for American Express.
Miss Delcros said: ‘Since Xavier disappeared in such tragic and traumatic circumstances our whole world has fallen apart.’
Canadian tourist Christine Archibald told her fiance Tyler Ferguson she loved him seconds before she was mowed down.
Miss Archibald and Mr Ferguson were walking across London Bridge after dinning at a nearby restaurant when the atrocity unfolded.
Her fiancé said: ‘At one point Chrissy stopped me out of nowhere, grabbed me close and gave me a passionate kiss after telling me she loved me.
‘I remember it being a warm summer’s evening and the sun had just gone down.. And then the attack took place and Chrissy was killed.
‘No words can express how I felt when this happened. I was absolutely devastated and inconsolable. Nothing has ever been the same since.’
Miss Archibald’s engagement ring was lost during the attack, but later recovered from the bridge. Mr Ferguson now wears it on a chain around his neck.