The terrorist who carried out the London Bridge atrocity was already under police investigation at the time of the attack. Khuram Butt, 27, a former security guard, was known to the police and MI5 as far back as 2015. Detectives received a call from a citizen on their anti-terrorism hot-line with information about him years ago.
But authorities insist inquiries established no evidence to suggest terrorist activity or that he was planning an attack, according to assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the UK’s top counter-terrorism officer. So Butt’s case was moved into the “lower echelons” of the 500 most active counter-terrorism investigations, meaning that he was virtually forgotten.
Mr Rowley defended the failure saying: “All the work done has never provided any evidence or intelligence of attack planning or other serious offences, consequently as time went on, prioritization of that operation moved and was currently in the lower echelons.” But despite Rowley’s claims, a London Newspaper, the Mirror, revealed that Butt had links to the notorious ISIS executioners, dubbed “Jihadi Sid” and the “Jihadi Giant”.
Butt, was a British citizen born in Pakistan and both he and his accomplice, Moroccan-Libyan, Rachid Redouane, were living in the Barking, east London area. They, along with a third unnamed accomplice, rammed a rented B&Q Hertz van into pedestrians on London Bridge before launching a stabbing rampage, killing seven and injuring 49 on Saturday night.
Discoveries about Butt continue to astound professional observers. It seems that he had previously worked for the London Underground and KFC. He claimed on a video he worked as a security guard and held a Home Office approved SIA License, despite being under investigation. When contacted, a spokesman for the Home Office declined to comment.
He was reported twice to the counter terror hotline after acquaintances became alarmed at his radicalization over the last two years. One female neighbor said: “He didn’t like it when I was out and about. He didn’t like women. I think he thinks they should be suppressed at home. Last week he had a barbecue and he said ‘it’s a no-women zone’.”
Who was Butt? He was a father of two and worked out regularly at a local gym, but he was a supporter of the banned Islamist group al-Muhajiroun whose leader Anjem Choudary has been linked to the recruitment of more than 100 British terror suspects. In addition Butt was a political activist urging people not to vote in the general election. He had links to notorious ISIS executioners, “Jihadi Sid” and the “Jihadi Giant”. All were members of a banned extremist group before they fled the UK to Syria.
Butt had been caught in a TV documentary last year entitled ‘The Jihadis Next Door’ unfurling an ISIS-style flag in London’s Regent’s Park. All this makes one wonder, how is it that such a visible suspect managed to be officially overlooked by those charged with the public safety? Could it possibly be because they were Muslims, rather than White Europeans? That would be a sad epilogue to the tragedy that occurred on London Bridge.