Trial of Liverpool IS suspect abandoned

Image source, PA
Image caption, Ismael Watson said he slicked his hair back to look more Syrian, the court heard

The trial of a Muslim convert who was allegedly caught trying to join so-called Islamic State has been dropped.

Ismael Watson, from Liverpool, was stopped as he tried to cross the Turkish border into Syria in February, the Old Bailey heard.

The 27-year-old, who denies preparation of terrorist acts, opted to represent himself but refused to attend court.

The jury was discharged and the case was adjourned until Friday, when a new trial date is due to be set.

'Wife informed authorities'

The court had heard how the defendant, formally known as Jack Watson, came from a non-Muslim family and was described by his mother as "meek, mild and easily influenced".

He claimed his estranged wife had "snitched" on him while she was pregnant, jurors heard.

It was said in court that the couple had lived in Walsall, near Birmingham, but the relationship broke down before 2016 as Mr Watson's views became increasingly extreme from watching IS videos,.

Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC had told jurors how Mr Watson had made preparations to join IS from January 2016 and flew to Morocco before travelling to Turkey.

'Change face'

He allegedly sought help to cross the border into Syria via contacts on the internet, not realising they were two undercover security service agents, the court heard.

In a conversation on 30 March last year, an officer asked him if he had been "hot" before he left Britain, and Mr Watson allegedly replied: "Yes I was hot. My wife snitched on me and left."

The 27-year-old suggested he could help IS with film-making, proof-reading and cooking, jurors heard.

Mr Oliver QC said that, in encrypted messages with another officer, Mr Watson described how he slicked back his hair to look more Syrian but admitted he could "only change face so much".

Mr Watson was later detained in Turkey and sent back to the UK in February, jurors heard.

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