THE brother-in-law of London Bridge attacker Khuram Butt contacted a hotline about his behaviour more than 18 months before the atrocity — but the message was not passed on to investigators, an inquest heard.
Usman Darr alerted the counter- terrorism hotline in September 2015 to report a radical change in Butt’s behaviour as he distributed anti-Western texts and links to jihadi sites, and became increasingly extreme in his views.
A senior counter-terrorism police officer known as Witness M told the inquest that it was ‘very unsatisfactory’ that his team was not informed — even though Butt was being monitored for potentially planning an attack.
He said: ‘It denied us, really, the option of discussing that information with MI5, and how it fitted into the bigger picture, and denied us the option of what action to take subsequently to receiving that information.’
In the same month Butt was assessed by the security service as a ‘strong risk’ of staging a terror attack on his own, but there was no evidence of attack planning, the Old Bailey heard.
He was found to be ‘aspirational’ in wanting to stage an attack but did not have the ability to do so.
Police decided not to charge him with possession of extremist material as there was not a strong enough chance of disrupting any potential plot.
Witness M, who gave evidence amid tight security, with journalists cleared from the court to listen via videolink, said: ‘We were still investigating a potential attack.
‘My view was, and is now, that had we moved to arrest him, it was unlikely to result in any significant disruption.’ The inquest heard Butt had associated with members of banned terror group Al-Muhajiroun, including leader Anjem Choudary.
In 2016, he appeared in the Channel 4 documentary The Jihadis Next Door, but Witness M said he was not ‘personally aware’ of the appearance. Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, killed eight people and injured 48 others in the London Bridge attacks on June 3, 2017.
The inquest into the victims’ deaths continues.