Jihadi John's fourth Beatle unmasked as refugee given shelter in UK
Former fairground mechanic El Shafee Elsheikh is believed to be the fourth member of the all-British group of fanatics who held and executed western hostages, including two Britons, for Isil.
The 27-year-old was a close friend of Mohammed Emwazi, who was revealed as Jihadi John last year, and grew up in the same part of west London.
In a further insult to the UK, Elsheikh was given shelter here aged just five when his Communist supporting parents fled Sudan and claimed asylum.
His devastated mother last night disowned her son and revealed how he became an extremist just 17 days after attending sermons at local mosques.
Security and intelligence sources believe Elsheikh was one of the four violent guards who held hostages in Raqqa and became known by their captives as “the Beatles” because they were all British.
Emwazi, who beheaded several westerners on video including Britons David Haines and Alan Henning, was killed in a drone strike in November last year.
The other two members of the group were later revealed as Londoners Aine Davis and Alexanda Kotey.
Elsheikh is understood to be living in Syria with two wives and two young children who were both born out there.
His mother, Maha Elgizouli, from White City, said her son was influenced by west London hate preacher Hani al-Sibai, who was also an alleged influence for Emwazi.
She said he began attending sermon at three mosques the following year and rapidly became a fanatic. He left for Syria in April 2012.
The Beatles became notorious in Syria as some of Isil’s most brutal guards, who tortured their hostages with electric shocks, waterboarding and mock executions before beheading them.
On discovering he was a member of the group, Mrs Elsheikh told Buzzfeed News: “That boy is now not my son. That is not the son I raised.”
Elsheikh studied mechanical engineering at Acton College and maintained rides at a local fairground.
His parents fled Sudan in 1993 because they were members of the country’s Communist Party. His father, a poet and flight attendant, abandoned the family two years later.
Elsheikh later persuaded his younger brother Mahmoud to go to sermons with him and also became radicalised.
Mahmoud followed his brother to Syria but was killed last year.
Mrs Elgizouli said she had tried to get the British authorities to confiscate Mahmoud’s passport to stop him travelling but they refused.
She said: “My kids were perfect. What suddenly happened?
A close family friend said Elsheikh had been a “quiet and respectful” boy who began arguing with his mother over Islam.
“One day I remember, he came up to her (pointing aggressively) and said ‘you know, Allah says your mum can be your enemy’.”
In 2012, shortly after Elsheikh had gone to Syria, Dr Salah al Bander, then director of the Sudanese Diaspora and Islamism Project at the Sudan Civic Foundation, raised concerns about him.
He told the Sunday Telegraph that the fanatic had claimed up to 21 of his friends were also planning on travelling to Syria.