Mother and daughter from east who sent money to bankroll ISIS fighter in Syria jailed

Mother and daughter from east who sent money to bankroll ISIS fighter in Syria jailed

A mother and daughter from east London who sent money to a relative fighting for ISIS in Syria have been jailed.

Stella Oyella, 53, and Vanessa Atim, 32, from Newham, arranged for more than £1,800 to be sent to Joseph Ogaba.

He left the UK in 2014 to join ISIS in the Middle East but died in prison in Syria in 2022.

Counter terror officers had followed the money trail proving that Oyella and Atim had funded his terrorist activities.

They had set the money through contacts in Uganda in an attempt to cover their tracks, a trial at the Old Bailey had heard.

Oyella and Atim, who are Ogaba’s sister and niece, were both jailed at a sentencing hearing on Monday.

Oyella was handed a three year sentence and Atim three years and nine months.

Commander Dominic Murphy, who leads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “These women went to great lengths to first arrange, and then distance themselves from money transfers to Ogaba. They knew he had travelled to Syria to join a terrorist group and by sending him cash, they helped him remain with Daesh.

“This case shows how we work with our international partners to close the net on people who support terrorist activity, no matter how much time has passed.”

In September 2014, Ogaba left his home in north London and travelled to Syria, via Germany and Turkey.

The Muslim convert left a note for his family explaining that he was going to join ISIS.

Twice in 2018 Atim was stopped at Heathrow and Gatwick and searched under the terrorism act. Devices were seized and contents showing contact with Ogaba was downloaded by officers, the jury at the Old Bailey had heard.

On a hard drive, investigators found scans of money transfer receipts, and the dates, times and the monetary sums of these transactions matched those discussed in messages between Ogaba and Atim.

The hard drive also held pictures of Ogaba, including evidence of his activities with ISIS, and extremist content with images of weapons and explosive devices.

Commander Murphy added: “The use of counter-terrorism powers by officers at the airport was crucial in discovering how Ogaba’s family members were supporting him financially.

“And it was the specialist skills of officers within our National Terrorist Financing Investigation Unit which helped pinpoint the transactions that led to this prosecution.”

Oyella and Atim were interviewed by counter terrorism officers in June and December 2021 respectively, and charged on 11 October 2022.

They were found guilty of terrorist fundraising after a trial at the Old Bailey which ended on 20 December 2023.

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