One of the terrorists responsible for the London Bridge killings was previously reported to police for extremist activities including offering treats to children and displaying an ISIS flag. Khuram Butt, 27, was filmed in Regent’s Park attempting to radicalize others and was even featured in a TV documentary about British jihadis last year on Channel 4.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Butt, who was known as “Abz” to friends, was also filmed alongside two preachers who were known to for having extremist views.
At one point, a friend of Butt contacted an anti-terror hotline to express his concerns. The hotline was informed that Butt had become obsessed with YouTube videos made by hate preachers and had been bribing children with sweets in a local park to convince them to listen to his extremist views. The friend who called the hotline said, “I did my bit, I know other people did their bit, but the authorities did not do their bit.”
Erica Gasparri, a neighbor of Butt, spoke with The Times and said she reported Butt to the authorities as well after she spotted him at a park near a local school. “They were waiting for children of the neighborhood,” said Gasparri. “They would give the children chocolate while talking to them. They would pray in the park for hours.”
One of his neighbors described Butt as a “cheeky chappie” before his brother joined the Territorial Army and Butt became serious about Islam. Neighbors stated that in 2013, he began wearing religious clothing and would regularly go to a mosque near his home that a neighbor considered quite radical.
At one point, Butt had a disagreement with an imam at a mosque and was banned from returning. After that, a neighbor said he began preaching from his home. “The imam was forced to ask [Butt] to leave two years ago,” said a spokesman for the Jabir Zayd Islamic Center. The imam was giving a speech about the upcoming 2015 election when Butt “got angry” and “interrupted the imam.”
Before the attack on Saturday, Butt had also held a farewell barbecue at his home, where guests were provided with cupcakes.
Butt, along with the other attackers, wore fake suicide bomb vests while using a van to run down pedestrians on the London Bridge and attacking patrons of the nearby Borough Market with knives. Seven people died during the attacks, and an additional 48 were injured before the police stopped the terrorists.