Thomas Evans, a jihadist militant was killed fighting for the terrorist group al-Shabaab in Kenya in June of this year. His mother, Sally Evans, who is taking part in a Channel 4 documentary, My Son the Jihadi, to be aired on October 22, has been very vocal in the aftermath of her son’s death.
Thomas Evans, 25, was a British man from Buckinghamshire who became radicalised in his home town of High Wycombe, converted to Islam, changed his name to Abdul Hakim and travelled to Somalia to join the jihadi militant group in 2012. He then went on to fight with al-Shabaab in Kenya before being killed in June. Evans had previously attempted to fight with the militants at the age of 21, but was refused entry and was turned away at the airport by police. He originally told his mother that he was going to study Arabic, but a year later, he called to tell his mother that he was in Somalia fighting for al-Shabaab.
It’s thought that Thomas Evans became radicalised after splitting from his girlfriend, after which he fell in with the wrong crowd, grew his beard and eventually began expressing extremist views. Thomas was a promising engineer and wanted to join the Royal Marines to serve his country, but after he changed his name, he got fired from his engineering apprenticeship due to his extremist attitude.
As part of the Channel 4 documentary, witnesses were found from Kenyan villages who claim to have seen a man fitting Evans’s description cutting the throats of Christians who didn’t conform to the al-Shabaab militant group’s extremist way of life. A survivor of a massacre that occurred in a Kenyan Village has said: “The attackers tied the man’s hands and then the white man slaughtered the man from behind using his big knife. Then the white man took the small baby and looked to see if it was a boy or a girl. The white man said, ‘She’s a girl, let’s not kill her,'” one said. Another recalled a man fitting Evan’s description trying to identify villages that were Christian. “My friend was asked, ‘What’s your name?’ by the white man. My friend answered ‘Kamau’ and the white man cut his throat and another attacker shot him.”
Referred to as the ‘white beast’ due to his heinous acts of savagery, Evans was killed in a fierce gun battle that occurred in the dark on a Kenyan Army camp. The radical convert actually filmed the gunfight before it claimed his life.
Before the fatal gunfight, Thomas Evans told his mother: “If I don’t come back, please don’t cry for me. I’ll be doing what I want to do. I’ll be happy. I’ll be in paradise.”
Mrs Evans saw the picture of his dead body on Twitter and knew immediately that it was her son. “His brother Michael found the photo online. It’s definitely Thomas, I know, I’m his mother. I just went numb; I couldn’t believe that that was my son, my little boy. My little baby who I loved.”
In the immediate aftermath of Thomas’s death, Mrs Evans stated: “I’m relieved that he is no longer in a position where he can hurt people. I thank God he wasn’t a suicide bomber, he didn’t take lots of other people with him. I am thankful for that. I’m both devastated and relieved.”
On Christmas Eve 2012, Thomas called his mother and announced that he had married a girl who was 13 or 14 years old. Upon his death, Evan’s jihadi bride told Mrs Evans: “I’m happy he died a martyr fighting for what he believes in and I believe he is in paradise.”
Speaking for the upcoming Channel 4 documentary, Mrs Evans has said that she’s “glad he’s dead and burning in hell for his crimes”.