WOOLWICH , London, May 26 – 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.
The Mail on Sunday has learned he 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.
An East London-based solicitor, who asked not to be named, said: ‘He came to see us last year. He raised serious concerns which are similar to ones we have heard before from others. He met a member of my team and discussed his case.
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‘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.’
It is understood that soon afterwards the contact with intelligence officers suddenly ceased.
Adebolajo’s links to the security services were first revealed on Friday on Twitter by one of his closest friends, Abu Nusaybah. Hours later, Nusaybah was arrested under the Terrorism Act just as he was finishing a pre-recorded interview for BBC Newsnight.