Former King Solomon head Jo Shuter shocked at identification of ex-pupil ‘Jihadi John’
PUBLISHED: 15:30 02 March 2015 | UPDATED: 14:58 03 March 2015
The former headteacher of King Solomon High School has expressed her horror at discovering the man dubbed “Jihadi John” is an ex-pupil of hers.
Jo Shuter also ran Quintin Kynaston School, in St John’s Wood, where she taught Mohamed Emwazi, the Islamic State (IS) fighter shown beheading Western hostages of the terror group.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “I can’t even begin to say the shock and the horror that I feel.
“Even now when I’m listening to the news and I hear his name I feel the skin on the back of my neck stand up because it is just so far from what I knew of him, and it is so shocking and so horrendous the things that he has done.”
Ms Shuter worked at King Solomon High School, in Forest Road, Barkingside, before banned from teaching last year following a misconduct charge at Quintin Kynaston, her previous position. She has been given permission to appeal that ban.
She said that far from the arrogant killer who features in IS videos, she remembered Emwazi to be a “hard working” boy bullied by his schoolmates.
She said: “He had adolescent issues, as some of the young people, particularly at that age - year nine, particularly the boys, is a time when the hormones start raging, and he had some issues with being bullied which we dealt with.
“By the time he got into the sixth form he, to all intents and purposes, was a hard-working aspirational young man who went on to the university that he wanted to go to.”
Ms Shuter worked at King Solomon High School, in Forest Road, Barkingside, before banned from teaching last year following a misconduct charge at Quintin Kynaston, her previous position.
Concerns have been raised that pupils were radicalised as teenagers at the north-west London school.
Choukri Ellekhlifi was killed in Syria in 2013 after joining up with an al Qaida terror group while Mohammed Sakr died fighting for al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al Qaida, in Somalia, according to reports.
But Ms Shuter said there was nothing to indicate the pupils were being radicalised and would go on to slaughter innocent people.
She said: “I am not prepared to say when the radicalisation took place. “All I can say is absolutely hand on heart, we had no knowledge of it. If we had we would have done something about it.”
She added: “There was never any sense that any of these young men as I knew them were radicalised when they were in school.”
On Emwazi’s reported involvement with gangs, she said: “He wasn’t a young person that I would have thought had been involved in, at the level that has been reported, with gangs.
“He certainly didn’t present like that, we certainly had no information around those sorts of things.”
Emwazi later graduated with a degree from the University of Westminster, an institution which has been dogged by claims it has been targeted by Islamist extremists.
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