The Boarding School Bomber


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The Boarding School Bomber

Docudrama telling how, three years after the 7/7 attacks on London, a Bristol shopping centre was the intended target of a terrorist attack by an educated, privileged teenager.


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This programme contains some strong language

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'Listen, I hope you are not too late. This boy, Isa, he needs help,

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'only we fear he is close to doing something very dangerous to himself and others.

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'We believe he has a bomb.'

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Three years after the 7/7 bombers attacked London,

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killing 56 and injuring 700 more,

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the police received information

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that a 19-year-old was preparing to target a shopping centre in Bristol.

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We are at war and I am a soldier.

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We are at war and I am a soldier.

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But Andrew Ibrahim was not your typical terrorist.

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-Stop laughing.

-I'm gonna kill you.

-Yeah?

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This is the true story of a middle class public schoolboy...

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You don't fucking know me.

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Andrew, that is enough!

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Enough!

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Andrew, enough!

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'We are al slaves of Allah...'

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..And how that schoolboy turned into a suicide bomber.

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Islam will dominate the UK.

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Blood is on your hands. On YOUR hands.

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Complicit.

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Complicit. Complicit.

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Well, we know that on 7th April,

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Ibrahim went to the Broadmead shopping gallery

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in Bristol city centre.

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We were able, through recovering of CCTV from all the shops,

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and the centre itself, to piece together his exact movements.

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And what he's doing was carrying out what we would call a hostile reconnaissance

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of that shopping centre.

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He walks around.

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He looks at where the bins are,

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he times himself on the routes around each floor,

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he times himself between floors.

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And, in fact, on some of the CCTV, you can see him actually inputting

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what he's doing into his phone, as a note to himself.

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We believe that was his reconnaissance of his planned attack.

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It's so surreal that somebody I knew,

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somebody that I sat next to for like six months,

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and thought I had some sort of insight into him

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it's just really, really frightening.

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Somebody I knew could have...

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like, you know, could have harmed so many different people.

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It's really, really quite scary.

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But, at the time, we were just completely oblivious.

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Andrew was born in a suburb of Bristol, very nice, quite rural.

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He had a very privileged upbringing.

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He went to private schools. He came from a middle class family,

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his father was a doctor and his brother's a lawyer.

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He had a fairly normal childhood.

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There's nothing that sticks out as him being a little different.

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Colston's Collegiate, it was very posh.

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They used to call me Vicky Pollard

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cos I used to be quite Bristolian

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compared to what they were like, whereas outside of school,

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when I met my partner now, he actually said, "That was quite posh."

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I was like, "Oh, my god, if you think I'm posh,

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"you should see some of the people that I go to school with."

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Back at school, Andy was, um, big, kind of like bouncer build.

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But I wouldn't look at him and go, "Oh, he's fat."

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He wasn't that good looking, compared to his brother.

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His brother was a dish.

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I don't think he felt he fitted in with one particular group.

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His interests were not quite the same as other people's.

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Perhaps the only people he felt comfortable with

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were the people that he played online games with.

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He liked Diablo II and he played it online for hours.

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But he didn't have many friends at all.

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And he'd do silly things to gain attention.

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When it come to girls, he was very strange.

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He went through a stage of texting me

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every single evening and it would only say the words "Hi."

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Just say those two letters, H, I, "Hi"

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and he done that for a few months

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and he did get some scissors once

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and he said, "I want some of your hair for my shrine."

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and I was like, "Don't fucking touch my hair!

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"If you cut my hair, I will... I will go mad." And he didn't,

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but he was just getting it to get the reaction from the boys behind him.

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But that's a weird thing to do, you don't chase a girl round with scissors

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saying you're going to cut their hair. Weird.

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But they never expelled anyone in my school.

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They'd "ask them to leave."

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It's actually a very, very small school compared to, say, Eton

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or some of the larger boarding schools in the country.

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But it's quite an imposing school, I think,

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if you see it for the first time, certainly as a 12-year-old boy,

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I found it pretty imposing, but you get used to it.

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When we decided to accept Andrew into the school,

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the information I had indicated that he could behave inappropriately sometimes,

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he would be attention seeking,

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but that kind of behaviour isn't all that unusual

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in people of that age,

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sometimes in people of any age.

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And when Andrew came for interview with his parents,

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I was struck by a certain vulnerability

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because he was quite a big fellow

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but, at the same time, when I questioned him,

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he was rather tearful.

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I remember also asking him what would he really like,

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expecting him perhaps to say something about his future career,

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and he said, "A good girlfriend," which was an unexpected answer.

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I've never had one like that since,

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so that was rather intriguing.

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He was quite interesting because it's always interesting when someone's been expelled

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and has arrived at your school.

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It's...

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something you're really experienced to yet.

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I think there was this allure of the bad boy.

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He sort of forged this character for himself,

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and I think he then was forced to keep that going.

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He got caught drinking quite a few times,

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which isn't unknown, especially at a small boarding school

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in the middle of Somerset,

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but he was sort of slightly different

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in where everyone was drinking beer, maybe he'd drink vodka.

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And he would get caught almost like he wanted to get caught.

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What we know about Ibrahim, and we sort of went over all his background

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as part of our investigation, is that he clearly,

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throughout his sort of teenage years particularly,

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struggled, erm, to find friends.

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And he'd had some issues at schools, such as being expelled,

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and perhaps some of his conduct at his school

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was indicative of somebody trying to be wanted by friends and peers.

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I think with Andrew, he seemed to be searching all the time.

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and always had an idea that if you were something,

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you had to dress in a particular way.

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Classic example was his skateboarder phase.

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He felt you had to wear a certain style of clothing,

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you had to talk and act in a certain way.

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I think that wanting to be affiliated to something,

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some meaning in his life was a driver for him.

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Andy arrived in 2004,

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I think it was, so the beginning of GCSEs.

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I think he was, in the beginning, quite shy,

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kind of stood out a lot cos he had this sort of black, short hair.

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He was quite funny, he was always laughing,

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I can hear his laugh even now. It was quite, quite distinctive.

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Andrew had these obsessional hobbies.

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The one that sticks out the most is his body building.

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He always used to come into the form room with his protein shake.

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We used to take the mickey out of him because he was always drinking it, swigging away.

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I don't know if Andrew himself knows the reason why he didn't fit in.

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In terms of his body image,

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he had huge problems with his body image.

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From the time he would start the body piercings.

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The worst time were the tattoos.

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They were absolutely, I felt, awful.

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He had a huge tattoo on his back.

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It was of an angel.

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With huge wings...

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..almost encompassing someone.

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And I felt so bad that he'd defaced his body in this way,

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but I think he did all of this,

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the dyed hair, the tattoos, the piercings,

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I think he did it all to try and be different.

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I think he was just someone who...well, I'd say

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I think it was because he was quite clever,

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and his brain just wanted something to latch onto and something to get involved with,

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but after it, sort of, as these things do, have a shelf life,

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he got a little bit bored, and just moved onto something else.

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Andrew was 13 when we first discovered

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that he had been using cannabis, just cannabis, that was all.

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I was obviously upset, but I realised a lot of children experimented with cannabis

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and he assured us he wouldn't do it again.

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At that time, we had no reason to believe

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that he wouldn't keep his word on it.

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I knew that there was a certain amount of drug taking going on in the school.

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There was sort of a group, I suppose they were the skaters

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or the rockers or whatever, who used to go out raving

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on a Friday night,

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and Andy would go along with them.

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I think that's the first time he started to take ecstasy.

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But I thought that, well, you know, he's got this...

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this obsessive personality and it was something that he was going do for a while.

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During our GCSE period,

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he used cocaine on a couple of occasions

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but I seem to remember him saying that it wasn't working,

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it wasn't doing what he wanted it to do.

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He moved on to using heroin. I said, "What are you doing?"

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and he was completely honest and said, "I've done it a few times,"

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but he said, "I'm not going to do it anymore."

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And I believed that. I though, "That's fine,"

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you know, "OK, you've tried it, you've experienced it,

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"but maybe it's not for you and you've stopped."

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WRETCHING

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Morning.

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You all right?

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-Go away.

-Hm, Andy?

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Leave me alone!

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Where is it?

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Where's what?

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-Where is it?

-Where's what?

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What are you doing? Mum!

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Shh! You haven't got a clue, have you?

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What you're doing to us? All of us?

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Don't you dare. Look at me.

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-Where is it?

-Get off, I'm going to be sick! Mum!

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Mum's not coming up here. Do you think she wants to see you like this, again?

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We've tried everything. Everything, haven't we?

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-Stop laughing.

-I'm going to kill you.

-Yeah? Yeah? Huh?

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Mum!

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Shh, keep your voice down!

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Have you looked at yourself? Hm?

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What are you doing?

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What are you doing? Mum!

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Look at yourself. That's you! Andy the junkie, yeah?

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I'm going to show this to you every time you even think about taking drugs.

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You should be ashamed of yourself.

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We're a good family, Andrew.

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As a family, we'd been experiencing difficulties for some time.

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And after discussion, it was felt that Andrew and I would

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leave the family home, we would go by ourselves, for some time.

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I felt we could perhaps sort things out between us,

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and Andrew would settle down.

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During this time, his drug use got much worse.

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About a year later, after he'd left the cathedral school, I saw him

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on College Green, and he was sort of scratching

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and sort of incoherent when he was talking.

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And I was really quite shocked...

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Yeah, left me quite shaken, seeing him the way that he was,

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cos he was obviously in a very bad way.

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I remember one day going in his bedroom,

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and finding him lying on the bed.

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His eyes were rolling back in his head.

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I didn't know if he was going to live or die.

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I remember another time going in his wardrobe,

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opening the door of his wardrobe, and finding his belt in a lasso.

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He'd obviously used it as a tourniquet.

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You never forget these images.

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Our religion is Islam. Obedience to the one true God. Allah.

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I was certainly surprised to hear that Andrew had converted to Islam.

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But to somebody fighting addiction and self absorption...

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then the turnaround of embracing a very strong,

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clear faith could well be attractive.

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Some of Andy's friends came to pick him up. I think it was a Saturday.

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He'd been out with them a few times, and I thought nothing of it at all.

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The day passed quite normally. He came home that night and said,

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"I've converted and become a Muslim."

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I think my first reaction was, "Oh, God, not again, something else!"

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We expected it was just another fad. It really wouldn't last long.

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Because nothing else had lasted long.

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From what we know,

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on the anniversary of 7/7...

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so, on 7th July 2006,

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he became a Muslim.

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After these 7/7 attacks...

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I, at the time, was having stones thrown at my car...

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..Rocks, big boulders. I remember women who were wearing the burka

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having it ripped off their face.

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I remember graffiti being plastered all around the area,

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paki this, or terrorist that, or go home, etc, well, for me,

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this is my home, what do you mean?

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And that's where these questions about identity came.

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Asking us, "Are you British, Muslim, Asian?

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"Or are you Asian, British, Muslim? What are you first?"

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And these are questions the Muslim community never were asked before. They didn't know how to answer.

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Andrew's father was Egyptian and I'm English.

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I never thought Andrew had a problem with this.

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But as the years have gone by,

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I think he felt he didn't feel either English or Egyptian.

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His brother never had any issues with this,

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his brother felt he was entirely English.

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I don't quite know why Andrew felt different.

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The first time I met Isa would be...

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the very first lesson that we had in college.

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He told me he was doing...

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biology, chemistry, English and history.

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He said he wanted to do something in pharmaceutical science.

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Not the most organised of people.

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He'd always turn up without pens, paper,

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he'd always asks to copy my homework last minute,

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so he was a bit cheeky.

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But apart from the lack of organisation skills, he seemed OK.

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Page six. You should all know the answer to this one by now.

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Hydrochloric acid, and what is its formula?

0:18:190:18:22

-Andrew?

-What about anthrax, miss?

-What about anthrax?

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Is it the best biological agent for killing people?

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Andrew, even if I knew the answer to that, which I don't,

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do you think it would be irresponsible of me to say?

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-Isa.

-Sorry?

-Isa.

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Andrew is my Western name. I'm Muslim now.

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Right. OK, class.

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Look, we can all carry on preparing for our exam, or if you prefer,

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we can all sit around and watch Andrew seek attention.

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It was only a question, miss! There's no need to get all pissy about it.

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-I mean, this is chemistry, isn't it?

-Yes, and it's also college,

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which means it's not compulsory to be here, if you don't want to learn.

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-OK, right, moving on. Question 12.

-Hey, Isa!

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You going to blow us all up then, are you?!

0:19:100:19:13

-LAUGHTER

-Enough! Please!

0:19:130:19:15

What is its formula?

0:19:170:19:20

-You don't fucking know me!

-ALL: Oooh!

0:19:210:19:24

Andrew, that's enough. Enough!

0:19:240:19:27

-Andrew! Enough!

-Fucking...

-Andrew!

0:19:270:19:31

He talked about politics quite a lot. He had very strong views.

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It caused uproar in our classes when he mentioned anything like that.

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Everyone got really annoyed and upset about it.

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We know that Ibrahim was accessing the Internet at three or four main places.

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College, the library in Bristol and his parents' address.

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We're calling for the British public and the British government to wake up. Withdraw your forces.

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He was initially looking at, I suppose, general news.

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He seemed to have quite a liking to Abu Hamza.

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He had a hook instead of a hand.

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I don't really know what happened to it.

0:20:130:20:16

Faith. Shoot and loot. They're all enemies of Islam.

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The one guy in our class who was going on to do prosthetics at uni,

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he asked him if he could like built him an arm,

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which was kind of weird at the time.

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But Isa was getting really serious about it and was like,

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"Seriously, he needs an arm, can you please help?"

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And so we all just laughed it off,

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but he really did like kind of idolise him, I guess.

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You couldn't really question his views, because they were so extreme.

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He wouldn't listen to anyone else, whatever anyone else had to say.

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We were always wrong, he was always right.

0:20:490:20:52

Blair is guilty of war crimes and should be sent to the Hague.

0:20:520:20:56

9/11, the 7/7 bombings! All a conspiracy by Blair.

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A conspiracy by Blair to generate support of the war,

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so that hundreds and thousands of innocent Muslims...

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I'm not talking 50 Westerners, I'm talking hundreds

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and thousands of men, women and children murdered, and for what?

0:21:110:21:16

-For oil. For greed!

-Andy, what are you talking about?!

0:21:160:21:19

And a conspiracy against the state of Islam!

0:21:190:21:22

-And you, the British people, elected them!

-Andy!

-You're responsible!

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-Which means you're all complicit!

-Sorry, this isn't the message we're trying to get here.

-This is anti-war.

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-Blood is on your hands! Blood is on your hands! On your hands!

-Andy!

0:21:310:21:37

Complicit. Complicit.

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Complicit.

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We came back from half-term, and from going from wearing

0:21:460:21:50

tracksuit bottoms, hoodies, trainers,

0:21:500:21:53

he just came in in a full robe,

0:21:530:21:55

like, hat and everything, and it was just like, "OK."

0:21:550:22:00

When Isa first came into the faith, he suddenly found

0:22:010:22:05

a new focus. A new obsession, even.

0:22:050:22:08

He's coming to Islam. He's new.

0:22:080:22:12

He wants to learn everything, like a sponge, just absorbing everything.

0:22:120:22:16

But then he wanted to go that little bit further.

0:22:160:22:19

Like he did, as he has a habit, he wanted to go that little bit further.

0:22:190:22:25

It was evident that he was radicalised to a great degree by what he saw on the Internet.

0:22:250:22:30

Britain is the one who taught America how to kill and oppress Muslims in the first place.

0:22:300:22:34

When we looked at his usage of the Internet, he was getting almost addicted to more extremism.

0:22:340:22:40

He picked up on, particularly, the 7/7 bombers.

0:22:400:22:44

On his computer, he had kept their speeches. He almost idolised them.

0:22:440:22:50

"I'm going to keep this short and to the point,

0:22:570:23:00

"because it's all been said before

0:23:000:23:02

"by far more eloquent people than me."

0:23:020:23:04

Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood.

0:23:040:23:09

I remember seeing Isa Ibrahim in the mosque.

0:23:100:23:14

His dress code had changed, he was dressing more conservatively,

0:23:140:23:17

he had the beard, which isn't a problem, that's fine,

0:23:170:23:21

but he was a very confused character.

0:23:210:23:25

I knew that he was going from mosque to mosque to mosque, he was

0:23:250:23:28

looking for a sense of belonging which he didn't get in Bristol.

0:23:280:23:31

Because no-one was preaching that hardline terrorist ideology.

0:23:310:23:35

-What about suicide bombings?

-How can you say it's wrong?

0:23:350:23:39

The way I see it, they are defending Islam and the Umma.

0:23:390:23:43

They're retaliating from the aggression against Muslims,

0:23:430:23:46

coming from Israel, the US, Britain too.

0:23:460:23:48

Rather than war, concentrate on learning your faith.

0:23:480:23:53

Because then, you will know that Islam clearly prohibits

0:23:530:23:56

-killing of innocents.

-How can you say that when they're murdering us?

0:23:560:24:00

The West brought the war to us, not the other way around.

0:24:000:24:03

And you are talking about things you have little or no knowledge of.

0:24:030:24:08

Al-Qaeda is brilliant on the Internet.

0:24:080:24:12

Type in "suicide bombing, Islam", and I guarantee you,

0:24:190:24:24

within 10 clicks, you will get to extreme websites,

0:24:240:24:29

showing the most extreme, horrific images, and you get sucked into this.

0:24:290:24:34

I've seen it myself. And all these websites will tell you

0:24:340:24:37

about Muslims being massacred all over the place,

0:24:370:24:40

India, Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan,

0:24:400:24:44

and every site you go to will say to you, "It's because you're Muslim."

0:24:440:24:50

"They hate you because you're Muslim."

0:24:500:24:53

"And by the way, there is a long ongoing war.

0:24:540:24:57

"This hasn't just started with Iraq.

0:24:570:24:59

"This started from the day Islam was born."

0:24:590:25:01

And every site you go to will say to you,

0:25:010:25:05

"During the time of the Crusades,

0:25:050:25:06

they thought so little of your men, women and children,

0:25:060:25:09

"they roasted baby Muslims on spits and ate them."

0:25:090:25:14

"They didn't even consider you human beings."

0:25:140:25:16

And you think, "Well, that's a bit far-fetched.

0:25:160:25:19

"They didn't do that."

0:25:190:25:21

And then, they encourage you, "Find out.

0:25:210:25:24

"It's recorded in the Crusader journals."

0:25:240:25:26

"Oh, they actually did this."

0:25:260:25:28

"I've now come across a treasure trove of information.

0:25:290:25:34

"I am now special.

0:25:340:25:35

"I am now enlightened. I'm different to the sleeping Muslims

0:25:350:25:39

"who don't know what's going on."

0:25:390:25:41

This country is a dirty toilet. It's surrounded by minefields.

0:25:410:25:44

Who you have been listening to, those words are the rhetoric

0:25:440:25:48

of people who distort the Koran to make you hate.

0:25:480:25:51

Islam will dominate the UK as well! Allahu Akbar.

0:25:510:25:56

Tell me, honestly, now, who are you being attacked by?

0:25:560:26:00

Who are you defending yourself against? Who is driving you out?

0:26:000:26:06

Allahu Akbar.

0:26:060:26:08

When Andrew Isa was exploring Islam,

0:26:120:26:15

he visited a number of mosques.

0:26:150:26:17

HE PRAYS

0:26:170:26:19

I don't think he settled at any one in particular,

0:26:230:26:26

so he obviously didn't find what he was looking for.

0:26:260:26:29

Allahu Akbar.

0:26:290:26:31

I think that's why his use of the Internet actually increased.

0:26:340:26:38

We are diseased in our thoughts, in our minds.

0:26:380:26:42

Learning what the enemy wants us to learn!

0:26:420:26:44

HE PRAYS

0:26:440:26:45

My concern was, you know,

0:26:470:26:50

he's actually now moving away from the mosques...

0:26:500:26:53

IMAM: Allahu Akbar.

0:26:550:26:57

They are attacking the Muslims in a secret, subtle way.

0:26:580:27:04

..to a form of Islam which we know, actually, can lead to death

0:27:040:27:09

and violence and, that Al-Qaeda ideology that has swept the world.

0:27:090:27:14

HE PRAYS

0:27:140:27:18

Excuse me. Oi, excuse me. I like your pyjamas,

0:27:270:27:31

-where did you get them from?!

-Oi, mate! Islam's that way!

0:27:310:27:36

What you fucking say, rag head!

0:27:380:27:41

People fairly regularly shouted abuse at him

0:27:410:27:44

because of the way he was dressed.

0:27:440:27:46

In a way, I think it made him stronger in his belief.

0:27:480:27:51

Nothing was going to make him change his mind

0:27:530:27:57

about what he believed, or the way he felt he should dress.

0:27:570:28:01

-Where to, mate?

-Town.

0:28:010:28:03

"Your democratically elected governments continuously

0:28:070:28:10

"perpetrate atrocities against my people all over the world.

0:28:100:28:14

"Supporting these governments makes you directly responsible."

0:28:140:28:18

Brother, are you Muslim? Brother?

0:28:200:28:23

-You're going to have to speak up pal!

-You're Muslim though, yeah?

0:28:230:28:26

-Yeah, yeah, I'm a Muslim.

-Do you get a hard time in this country,

0:28:260:28:29

-in the UK?

-From who, brother?

-From the people, my friend!

0:28:290:28:32

From the Westerners that hate you!

0:28:320:28:34

You know, after the bombings in London, after 9/11.

0:28:340:28:36

I am a Westerner myself anyway. I was born here, brother.

0:28:360:28:39

I was born here, and I don't hate myself, I'll tell you that.

0:28:390:28:42

Yeah, well you should. You should hate yourself!

0:28:420:28:46

See, you are apathetic! You need to wake up, brother!

0:28:460:28:49

You need to open your eyes to what is happening!

0:28:490:28:52

During this time, Andrew became more involved in Islam.

0:28:540:28:58

We are all slaves of Allah,

0:28:580:29:01

and we stand side by side.

0:29:010:29:02

He'd listen to tapes of particular speakers that he liked.

0:29:020:29:06

What about the terrorism of the Western regimes?

0:29:060:29:08

He gave us Islamic leaflets. He wanted us to read them.

0:29:080:29:12

When's it going to stop? People need to know.

0:29:120:29:16

He'd sort of almost lecture us, really.

0:29:160:29:18

They're going to kick your door down when you're in bed with your wife!

0:29:180:29:22

In a way, he wanted us to convert.

0:29:220:29:24

You have openly declared war on Islam.

0:29:240:29:27

The foreigners crusade against the Muslims.

0:29:270:29:30

Another example of Andy having no middle ground about anything.

0:29:300:29:34

I don't want to hear any more of this.

0:29:350:29:37

-I'm just trying to educate you!

-Come out the car!

0:29:370:29:39

-I have money. Please drive the car.

-I don't want your money.

0:29:390:29:42

Please, brother, get out of my car, now! Please!

0:29:420:29:44

-That's my bag.

-Right, that's your bag. Go!

0:29:460:29:49

Thank you, thank you.

0:29:490:29:50

There you go, brother, have a good day. Salaam aleikum.

0:29:500:29:54

There was one chemistry lesson. Isa came in a bit late.

0:30:010:30:04

He didn't really get on with the task, instead he was really excited

0:30:040:30:08

about the stuff he'd found on the internet.

0:30:080:30:11

He wrote down quite a few equations, how to make bombs out of household ingredients,

0:30:110:30:15

hair dye, nail polish remover, and stuff like that.

0:30:150:30:18

Another time we went shopping, just because we had a break from college,

0:30:180:30:22

we decided to go into the Galleries, and we were walking around, and Isa just randomly said,

0:30:220:30:27

"Could you imagine if there was a bomb scare now? Imagine like the terror it would cause."

0:30:270:30:32

Which was really, really weird at the time.

0:30:330:30:35

I was like, "Oh my god, OK! I don't quite know what to say to that!"

0:30:350:30:39

So I just changed the subject.

0:30:390:30:41

Well, after he'd been to the shopping centre,

0:30:450:30:48

and conducted his recce,

0:30:480:30:51

he then set on, acquiring all the things he needed

0:30:510:30:54

to make his explosives, and also to make a detonating device.

0:30:540:30:59

Excuse me, please.

0:31:000:31:03

-Can I get some Hydrogen Peroxide?

-Yes.

0:31:030:31:05

'Support of these governments makes you directly responsible...'

0:31:050:31:09

I need to get as much heat from the bulb, using batteries as small as possible.

0:31:090:31:12

Can I get another bottle?

0:31:120:31:14

'..Just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters.'

0:31:140:31:20

That went over a number of days,

0:31:310:31:34

but certainly, from different shops around the city,

0:31:340:31:36

he secured everything he needed to make that homemade explosives.

0:31:360:31:40

There was also wiring,

0:31:400:31:42

and detonation circuits,

0:31:420:31:45

so switches, wiring, bulbs, that sort of thing.

0:31:450:31:48

And then, another thing that was of great concern

0:31:480:31:51

was he'd made a suicide vest.

0:31:510:31:54

So hanging behind his bedroom door

0:31:540:31:58

was a homemade suicide vest.

0:31:580:31:59

There was a time when Andrew became apparently suicidal.

0:32:020:32:07

He got a tie, tied it around a pipe in the washroom.

0:32:070:32:13

He also mentioned that he'd been rather influenced

0:32:130:32:16

by "Kurt Coblain", I think it was...

0:32:160:32:20

who had committed suicide and was something of a cult figure.

0:32:200:32:23

Now, any interest or attraction in suicides amongst young people

0:32:230:32:28

is always very serious.

0:32:280:32:30

But it was difficult to diagnose how serious that attraction was.

0:32:300:32:35

And there was a slightly sort of playful -

0:32:350:32:37

well, that sounds entirely the wrong word -

0:32:370:32:40

but a sort of play element about it, possibly.

0:32:400:32:42

And I suppose one could say that in that sense,

0:32:420:32:45

the call for attention was evident.

0:32:450:32:48

I think he felt sad that we'd sent him there.

0:32:500:32:55

At the time, we felt it was the right thing to do.

0:32:550:32:58

It was only later that he told us...

0:32:590:33:01

..he felt abandoned.

0:33:020:33:04

Our words have no impact upon you.

0:33:190:33:22

Our words have no impact upon you. Our words are dead.

0:33:260:33:30

Towards the end of Andrew's GCSEs,

0:33:330:33:35

that's when things started to take a change for the worst.

0:33:350:33:39

He would text me very late in the night, or in the early hours of the morning,

0:33:390:33:43

explaining that he wasn't happy with his life,

0:33:430:33:46

and how that he needed it to all come to an end.

0:33:460:33:49

Sometimes, he told me that he had taken drugs

0:33:490:33:53

to try and overdose,

0:33:530:33:55

to put an end to it all so he could leave it behind.

0:33:550:34:00

He just made it very clear to me that he wasn't happy,

0:34:020:34:06

and that he was suicidal.

0:34:060:34:08

He was prepared to take his own life

0:34:080:34:10

because things were not going the way that he wanted them to.

0:34:100:34:14

We'd already stayed a year together.

0:34:220:34:25

His drug worker helped him then get on the council list,

0:34:250:34:30

and he was given a flat in Westbury-on-Trym.

0:34:300:34:35

It had been left in a bad condition by a previous tenant,

0:34:350:34:39

so his brother, his father and I

0:34:390:34:42

all helped re-decorate the flat,

0:34:420:34:44

furnish it, get it into a nice state.

0:34:440:34:47

We'd see him three or four times a week.

0:34:490:34:52

We provided food for him in bulk, which he would freeze.

0:34:530:34:57

Things seemed to be on the up.

0:34:570:34:59

He was polite,

0:34:590:35:01

there was no hostility, or rudeness, or anything.

0:35:010:35:05

It was, in a way, one of the nicer times that we were with Andrew.

0:35:050:35:10

I, and thousands like me, are forsaking everything for what we believe.

0:35:160:35:20

It's a very short space of time from being a normal...

0:35:200:35:23

..law-abiding Muslim,

0:35:240:35:27

to one that is willing to go to...

0:35:270:35:30

..horrific lengths.

0:35:310:35:33

The Internet, the Al-Qaeda narrative will push... 24/7.

0:35:350:35:39

"Where were you? Get online. I haven't seen you for a while. Get online. Tick tick tick tick".

0:35:390:35:44

Stay connected to this individual, so give them no time whatsoever

0:35:440:35:48

to think about what they've just heard, or question what they've just heard.

0:35:480:35:51

And the sites are there, telling you all the time,

0:35:590:36:02

cos you get little buddies coming up, who will be your friend, who'll explain all this to you.

0:36:020:36:06

"You are special."

0:36:070:36:10

"This is providence."

0:36:100:36:11

"You didn't just come on this site by coincidence.

0:36:210:36:24

"God has guided you here, yeah?

0:36:240:36:27

So you may be, for example, a petty criminal on this earth,

0:36:270:36:31

credit card fraud now and again.

0:36:310:36:34

But this website, it will say, "Hold on, this is a skill.

0:36:340:36:37

"God has put you in this position,

0:36:370:36:40

"because there's a war against Islam, don't you know?

0:36:400:36:42

"And you are now its defender."

0:36:420:36:45

So, in your mind, you've gone from an utter idiot, failure in life,

0:36:480:36:53

to suddenly, "Ah, so that's what God's had planned for me!"

0:36:530:36:57

You feel justified.

0:36:580:37:00

You feel a full-grown soldier,

0:37:000:37:02

and you're taking part in a real war.

0:37:020:37:05

And you can get anything off the net nowadays.

0:37:050:37:08

You can learn how to do anything off the Internet,

0:37:080:37:11

And it's really easy. It's not even difficult.

0:37:110:37:14

Get what you want, have a little explosion. Wow!

0:37:140:37:16

"I did a little explosion!"

0:37:180:37:20

Get a lot of little cap guns together, put it together. Bang! Slightly bigger explosion.

0:37:200:37:25

Get a bit of hydrogen peroxide, bit of hair colouring,

0:37:250:37:28

Bang! That's a bigger explosion!

0:37:280:37:32

It's easy to do. And when you have that first explosion,

0:37:320:37:35

"Whoa! I've arrived. I'm here. I'm doing it, look!

0:37:350:37:39

"I'm defending the nation!"

0:37:390:37:41

Hi, everyone. Today's experiment is with HMTD,

0:37:410:37:45

or hexamethylene triperoxide diamine.

0:37:450:37:48

'One of the things that we found,'

0:37:530:37:55

was a clip of film that he'd taken with his mobile phone,

0:37:550:37:59

and it was a clip of film which shows him in his flat experimenting

0:37:590:38:03

with a small quantity of his homemade explosive...

0:38:030:38:06

..potentially showing people

0:38:080:38:10

how "clever" he was in being able to make this.

0:38:100:38:13

I'm going to keep this short and to the point,

0:38:170:38:20

because it's all been said before by far more eloquent people than me.

0:38:200:38:23

Our words have no impact upon you.

0:38:250:38:27

Our words are dead...

0:38:280:38:29

..until we give them life with our blood.

0:38:310:38:33

Fuck!

0:38:370:38:39

Shit!

0:38:440:38:45

I was speaking with Andy almost every day.

0:39:070:39:10

There was no indication whatsoever

0:39:110:39:15

that he was planning anything,

0:39:150:39:17

or that his thinking was anything other than normal.

0:39:170:39:20

If we had suspected, in any way,

0:39:210:39:24

of course we would have done something.

0:39:240:39:26

We're decent, upright people.

0:39:290:39:31

We would never have allowed any of this if we had known of it,

0:39:310:39:34

but we had no idea he was doing these things.

0:39:340:39:37

Man, what are you doing here? You should be at A&E.

0:39:520:39:56

-I can't go to A&E.

-Why?

0:39:560:39:59

Don't ask too many questions.

0:39:590:40:01

I don't want any trouble.

0:40:010:40:03

You shouldn't be here. This is all wrong.

0:40:030:40:05

Just cover yourself up.

0:40:050:40:07

Seriously, what's going on? Why did you come here?

0:40:120:40:16

Don't know. I panicked. Maybe I didn't want to go through...

0:40:160:40:19

You know they're going to throw you out if you carry on like this.

0:40:190:40:22

Coming here, covered in cuts and blood, it's a bit weird.

0:40:220:40:25

You need medical care.

0:40:250:40:27

Mmm. I know.

0:40:270:40:28

When it became obvious that there's something wrong here,

0:40:300:40:33

I think the communities were in a Catch 22 situation.

0:40:330:40:36

They didn't want to overreact.

0:40:380:40:41

You know, people have been shot,

0:40:410:40:43

people have been killed, under false alarms.

0:40:430:40:47

So I think most people would have initially, and did...

0:40:470:40:51

just dismiss him.

0:40:510:40:52

"It was just the rantings of a fool,

0:40:520:40:55

"he's new in the religion, he'll settle down eventually."

0:40:550:40:57

You know, "Everyone has their heated moments.

0:40:570:41:00

"If he was really doing something, he wouldn't be making such a big deal out of it.

0:41:000:41:04

"This is just him searching for attention.

0:41:040:41:07

"And if I call the police,

0:41:070:41:10

"helicopters,

0:41:100:41:12

"door broken in, families being upset,

0:41:120:41:14

"Islam is going to be dragged through the streets on the TVs again."

0:41:140:41:18

"I don't want to be part of that. I don't want to be the one that did that."

0:41:190:41:23

But...the last thing you want to see, as a Muslim,

0:41:260:41:30

is for somebody to go and carry that out and you didn't report it.

0:41:300:41:34

I remember receiving a call from one of my sergeants saying,

0:41:380:41:42

"Boss, you're not going to believe this,

0:41:420:41:45

"but we've had some people come to us and say,

0:41:450:41:47

"'There's a guy who's got

0:41:470:41:49

"blood on his hands, and he's got explosives.'"

0:41:490:41:52

We often quite come across people

0:41:580:42:00

who play with explosives because it's fun. They get excited by it.

0:42:000:42:03

It's not unknown that the boy chemist will make stuff in the garden shed,

0:42:030:42:09

and the first the parents will know it

0:42:090:42:11

is when the garden shed has blown up. So, for me, I didn't know.

0:42:110:42:15

"Am I dealing with a boy chemist, or am I dealing with somebody who's a potential terrorist,

0:42:150:42:19

"who's going to set a bomb off in Bristol?"

0:42:190:42:21

We are simple people who choose principles over fear.

0:42:210:42:25

The difficulty about all the information that we had at the very beginning,

0:42:250:42:30

which was a name, was actually, "Where do you go from there?"

0:42:300:42:33

We needed to identify who that person was.

0:42:330:42:36

"Did anybody know about this person?

0:42:370:42:40

"Was he known to the police?

0:42:400:42:42

"Was he capable of making explosives?

0:42:420:42:44

"Was he involved with others?

0:42:440:42:47

"Was this part of a much bigger plot?

0:42:480:42:50

"Was he acting alone?

0:42:500:42:52

"How close was he to being capable of detonating a device?"

0:42:520:42:57

'Allah Akbar.'

0:42:570:42:59

EXPLOSION

0:42:590:43:02

Our internal enquiries didn't reveal who this might be.

0:43:020:43:05

We went back to the other members of the community,

0:43:050:43:08

and said, "Can you help us please?" And they came up trumps, they came up with a full name.

0:43:080:43:13

Um, that took a number of days.

0:43:130:43:15

Isa just stopped turning up to college...

0:43:150:43:19

I texted him a few times and there was no reply.

0:43:230:43:27

You are directly responsible for the problems in Palestine.

0:43:270:43:31

As time went on, we built up a greater picture and a greater understanding

0:43:310:43:35

of what sort of individual we were dealing with.

0:43:350:43:38

We know that one afternoon he reacted quite aggressively

0:43:400:43:45

to a couple of ladies promoting alcohol outside a bar...

0:43:450:43:50

..saying it was wrong and inappropriate.

0:43:520:43:55

'Over two million innocents died, waiting for a light at the end of a tunnel...'

0:43:550:44:01

He certainly, I think, at that time described England as a toilet.

0:44:010:44:06

We had information from the Department of Works and Pensions,

0:44:080:44:11

that at his last interview he intimated he wasn't going to be claiming benefit in May.

0:44:110:44:15

That caused me a lot of concern.

0:44:170:44:20

You know, "Don't worry, I'm not going to need my benefits in May."

0:44:210:44:24

Why not? We didn't think he was getting a job, so what was he up to?

0:44:240:44:28

OK?

0:44:300:44:32

HE GROANS Ah!

0:44:320:44:35

Fuck!

0:44:400:44:42

We knew this individual was spouting quite extremist views...

0:44:480:44:52

..And we knew he potentially had been mixing chemicals.

0:44:580:45:01

And then, my concern was, well, he was going to go.

0:45:050:45:08

We are at war and I'm a soldier...

0:45:080:45:11

now you too will taste the reality of the situation...

0:45:110:45:14

He was going to go all the way.

0:45:140:45:16

He felt that, "If I'm going to be a true Muslim.

0:45:160:45:19

"True Muslims give up their life for the cause."

0:45:190:45:24

'And the cause he felt was the Al-Qaeda ideology...'

0:45:270:45:31

DISTORTED SPEECH

0:45:310:45:35

Not mainstream Islam,

0:45:360:45:39

that we know is actually a very peaceful religion.

0:45:390:45:43

Blood is on the hands of all those who oppress Islam!

0:45:430:45:47

Blood...is on the hands...

0:45:480:45:51

Blood is on the hands of all those who oppress Islam.

0:45:540:45:59

And so it has been asked of Allah...

0:46:040:46:08

..to make me Mujahadeen!

0:46:090:46:12

And so it has been asked of Allah to make me Mujahadeen,

0:46:120:46:15

to make me Shaheed!

0:46:150:46:16

To make me Shaheed...

0:46:160:46:19

And I have stepped forward and said, "I am ready".

0:46:190:46:23

And I have said, "I am ready".

0:46:260:46:28

Ready to bring Jihad to the doors of the kuffar!

0:46:280:46:32

Ready to bring Jihad to the doors of the kuffar!

0:46:320:46:37

'And until you stop the bombing...' This is my destiny!

0:46:370:46:40

'The gassing...' This is my destiny!

0:46:400:46:42

'Imprisonment and torture of my people...'

0:46:420:46:45

This is my destiny. 'We will not stop this fight.'

0:46:450:46:47

We are at war and I am a soldier. 'We are at war.'

0:46:470:46:52

We are at war and I am a soldier! 'I am a soldier.'

0:46:520:46:57

Now you too will face the reality of this situation.

0:46:570:47:01

Allah Akbar. Allah Akbar!

0:47:010:47:04

'Until we feel security...' Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!

0:47:040:47:09

'You will be our targets.'

0:47:090:47:12

Lucretius said back in the first century before Christ

0:47:250:47:30

that religion is the cause of all the evils...

0:47:300:47:33

..and obviously I wouldn't want to agree with that,

0:47:360:47:40

but I do think there's a particular hazard about religion

0:47:400:47:43

that it does confer great authority on certain individuals...

0:47:430:47:47

..and that authority... can easily be abused

0:47:490:47:54

because it can become a system

0:47:540:47:56

for getting people to do what I want or what my group wants.

0:47:560:48:00

Even till the point they press the button, or carry out the attack,

0:48:030:48:09

we know for a fact, that we can still stop them.

0:48:090:48:13

You can still talk to the individual and say, "Look, you know what,

0:48:130:48:16

"before you press that button, listen to what I have to say."

0:48:160:48:20

And you can still persuade them, we know that for a fact - there's doubt.

0:48:200:48:24

PHONE RINGS

0:48:240:48:27

'The person you are calling is unable to take your call.

0:48:270:48:30

'Please leave a message after the tone.'

0:48:300:48:32

It's me. Please pick up...

0:48:320:48:34

I really need to talk to you.

0:48:360:48:39

Please pick up the phone.

0:48:390:48:41

Fuck.

0:48:480:48:50

POLICE RADIO CHATTER

0:48:550:48:57

I went to that address with a colleague of mine.

0:49:080:49:11

The flat was in semi-darkness.

0:49:110:49:13

There was a lot of cutlery, cups and that piled up on the sink.

0:49:130:49:16

I looked at it, I don't know why, I just thought that was...

0:49:160:49:20

imagine me living on my own - piling things up on the sink side.

0:49:200:49:23

We found a number of bottles of hydrogen peroxide,

0:49:260:49:30

there were some circuitry and some wire,

0:49:300:49:33

tubs of nails and screws.

0:49:330:49:34

We found 68 printed pages detailing precise biographies of the 7/7 and 9/11 bombers.

0:49:340:49:41

We found the receipts for the purchases of all the items...

0:49:410:49:46

..all the needles and threads and scissors to make the suicide vest.

0:49:470:49:52

In total we think there would probably have been enough explosives

0:49:520:49:57

to make the equivalent of what would be 11 hand grenades.

0:49:570:50:00

11 hand grenades - being detonated in an area where

0:50:000:50:03

the public are just, you know moving around in a normal fashion.

0:50:030:50:07

That's going to kill a lot of people, maim a lot of people.

0:50:070:50:10

MUSIC AND DISCORDANT SPEECH

0:50:100:50:14

SHOOTING AND SHOUTING

0:50:290:50:33

NOISE REVERBERATES

0:50:330:50:35

I honestly believe these guys, most of these guys, young, young kids really...

0:50:550:51:01

are living a fantasy world.

0:51:010:51:03

They really are living a fantasy world, and they think

0:51:030:51:06

they are genuine soldiers,

0:51:060:51:08

and that training on Modern Warfare 2 is training enough as a soldier.

0:51:080:51:14

You understand the tactics, you understand what it's like to hold a Kalashnikov

0:51:140:51:18

because you've been playing it on PlayStation or Xbox.

0:51:180:51:21

The game suddenly has become... "I'm involved."

0:51:210:51:25

All they're doing is acting out a fantasy war game.

0:51:280:51:32

And the fantasy only becomes reality when there's either a knock on the door,

0:51:340:51:38

and the police, and it's over.

0:51:380:51:40

"Oh my God, I'm actually in the real world now."

0:51:400:51:44

Or, we don't get there in time,

0:51:440:51:47

and then that fantasy plays itself out to the end.

0:51:470:51:50

< Armed police! Stand still!

0:52:120:52:15

Look at me! Put your arms out to the side.

0:52:150:52:17

But I haven't done nothing.

0:52:170:52:19

-Look at me, do as I say!

-But I haven't done nothing!

0:52:190:52:21

Put your arms out to the side. SIRENS BLARE

0:52:210:52:24

Look at me!

0:52:240:52:25

TYRES SCREECH

0:52:250:52:27

-If you do as I say, no harm will come to you.

-I haven't done nothing.

0:52:270:52:31

Drop onto your knees. Do it now!

0:52:310:52:34

Do it now!

0:52:340:52:35

'With this I leave you to make up your own minds

0:52:380:52:41

'and I ask you to make dua to Allah almighty to accept my work

0:52:410:52:47

'and enter me into gardens of paradise...'

0:52:470:52:50

-Arms out!

-I haven't done nothing.

0:52:500:52:53

'A paradise where there will be no suffering...'

0:52:530:52:56

-What's in the bag?

-Fuck off is what's in the bag!

0:52:560:52:58

-Tell me what's in the bag.

-I've got nothing in the bag!

-Stay where you are!

0:52:580:53:02

'No pain...'

0:53:020:53:03

'..loneliness...or anger.'

0:53:040:53:08

Stay down!

0:53:110:53:13

'Just acceptance...

0:53:150:53:18

'..And everlasting love.'

0:53:190:53:22

'Bang.'

0:53:220:53:25

Everything, just like the whole, writing equations in my book,

0:53:250:53:29

his whole anti-Western views, joking about bombs,

0:53:290:53:34

like, converting to Muslim so dramatically,

0:53:340:53:37

just seemed to piece together and like switched a light on,

0:53:370:53:40

and just made us realise, "OK, why didn't we realise this before?"

0:53:400:53:44

He could have caused so much harm, it's just really,

0:53:440:53:48

really frightening, that somebody I knew could've done that.

0:53:480:53:51

It's sad really, he's a young man who looked like he was going to become a suicide bomber.

0:53:530:53:58

I suspect there was opportunities. I think there are people who perhaps could've done more in the past.

0:53:580:54:03

Only they know.

0:54:030:54:06

Well, in hindsight, if I was back at school, I would've took him to one side to talk to him.

0:54:080:54:14

Cos I, I know what depression's like.

0:54:140:54:18

It's not nice, and to think that someone else went through it

0:54:180:54:22

and you were probably one of the ones that was telling him to fuck off,

0:54:220:54:27

makes me feel quite guilty. But, you can't turn back time.

0:54:270:54:32

It's a shame really.

0:54:320:54:33

I know many people think,

0:54:440:54:46

"Why didn't you give up on him? He had loads of chances."

0:54:460:54:50

I can't give up on him.

0:54:520:54:55

He's my son.

0:54:550:54:56

I don't want to lose my son.

0:54:560:54:59

Andrew doesn't really talk to us about what happened.

0:55:050:55:10

I think he feels deep shame about it.

0:55:100:55:13

He's changed enormously. He's lost a lot of weight.

0:55:180:55:22

He rings me most days, but on the 9th of December,

0:55:220:55:26

in 2009, he sent me this card.

0:55:260:55:30

And he's just written inside just a very small amount of text...

0:55:300:55:35

..but it perhaps shows...

0:55:370:55:40

an idea of how he's changed and he's put,

0:55:400:55:43

"To Mum, I would like to say sorry for the things I did wrong...

0:55:430:55:49

"as a teenager..."

0:55:490:55:51

"After listening to a tape on obeying parents,

0:55:530:55:57

"I became concerned...

0:55:570:56:00

"and bought this card to ask for forgiveness, from you and Dad.

0:56:000:56:05

"I hope you for...can forgive my shortcomings, in speech, and actions. Lots of love, Isa.'

0:56:050:56:14

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:56:500:56:53

E-mail subtitling@bbc.co.uk

0:56:530:56:57

Compelling drama-documentary which tells the story of how, three years after the 7/7 attacks on London, a busy shopping centre in Bristol was the intended target of a devastating terrorist attack. However, the young man planning this attack was not your typical terrorist. Born to a middle-class, loving, Christian family, Andrew Ibrahim had a privileged upbringing and attended prestigious public schools. So how did this bright teenager turn into a would-be suicide bomber? This film starring Adam Deacon (Adulthood, Kidulthood) sets out to answer this very question. It plays alongside sensitive interviews with Andrew's friends, classmates and his mother. Police testimony of the race to find the plotter is cut against unprecedented CCTV footage that tracks his every move through the city. Most sinister, however, is the film's portrayal of the world of online extremism which turned Andrew into a terrorist, and the actual footage he viewed online is woven through the film in stark uncut form, surely leaving every mother wondering what her son is up to behind closed doors.