An ex-girlfriend of a Liverpool footballer has been jailed for 18 months after being convicted of funding terrorism.
Amaani Noor was found guilty of donating £34 to an organisation called The Merciful Hands via Paypal, knowing it may be used for the purposes of terrorism.She had denied the charge and claimed she thought the cash would be used to buy food for women and children in war-torn Syria.
Noor, who had planned to join her Islamist fighter husband in Syria, and mother-of-two Victoria Webster, 28, were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday.
Noor, of Wavertree, Liverpool, used to date Sheyi Ojo, the Liverpool winger and former England youth player who is currently on loan at Rangers.
Honorary recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary QC, while sentencing Noor, rejected the claim that the former performing arts student had set up a PayPal account in a fake name because of “considerations of modesty”.He said: “I don’t accept simply that you are that modest or naive in the way you would like people to believe.
“I have no doubt your commitment to your religion is entirely genuine but sadly there is a cunning about you which you maintained during your evidence.”
Webster, from Nelson in Lancashire, was jailed for 17 months after she pleaded guilty to two counts of providing money for the purposes of terrorism and one other related charge.
Serena Gates, prosecuting, said Webster donated a total of about £45 in a series of small amounts.
The trial heard that Noor, a former Miss Teen GB semi-finalist, and Webster messaged using the Telegram app and spoke about extremist terror outfits including Islamic State (IS).
Jurors were told the pair had access to video footage showing torture, beheadings and people being set on fire which the judge described as “truly shocking”.
Noor also messaged a man who described himself as an independent fighter in Syria named Hakim My Love who she said she had married over a videolink.
Police searching her home in July 2018 found she had a ticket booked to travel to Turkey.
Emails believed to have been written by Noor to Hakim said: “It’s been my dream to marry a fighter for a long time and my dream to be a fighter myself even longer lol.”
Noor had been in a relationship with a professional footballer when she was a teenager and also had a short marriage to a preacher, the court heard.
David Gottlieb defending, said her failed relationships may have led to the offences and “sent her spinning out of the solar system”.
Noor is now in a new relationship and her fiancé was in court along with her brother and mother.
Hossein Zahir, defending Webster, said she was “on a path to reform”.
He added: “The ideology she thought she believed in has left her life in ruins.”