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'Just don't bring a terrorist in the house': Family's warning to estate agent who then rented home to Abu Qatada
Terror preacher put up in 450,000 north London house without owner's knowledgeLandlady vows to evict 52-year-old and family, who are in property on six-month leaseCost of Qatada's legal bill said to be 'still rising' as he continues to fight deportationLast month he won his latest appeal against deportation on terror charges
10:19 GMT, 17 December 2012
Hate preacher Abu Qatada has been housed in a property belonging to a family who told the rental agent they did not want it let to terrorists.
The brother and sister who own the 450,000 three-bedroom house in north London were suspicious about their new tenants, but only realised who their notorious tenant was after being tipped off by journalists.
The sister said: 'I had no idea. I said to the estate agent: “We're watching a lot of Homeland; just don't bring a terrorist in the house”.
'They said the deposit was paid and
the references were very good. They said an American company was giving
the house to their employees.'
New home: Abu Qatada moved in to his new detached home a week ago
Qatada, 52, his wife, and four of his
five children moved into the detached house last week after complaining
that his previous house in north-west London was not big enough.
The terror preacher's new home was
inherited by the brother and sister in October, and their parents had
been dealing with the estate agent.
Abu Qatada's new home in north London
The father said he'd been told by the agents that it was being rented by a company from America that was offering a lot of money.
He said that when he organised a gas man and a carpet fitter to visit the property, both were turned away.
His daughter said: ‘I had no idea who was living there. I have read
about this man and why he was in prison, he does not seem like a nice
'We signed a contract with the company for six months but
there is no way I would have given my permission to rent the house to a
man like that – not ever.’
She added: 'I want them out'.
Former neighbours complained that
Qatada and his family caused 'havoc', attracting protesters and police,
and said it was 'upsetting' to have such resentment in the street.
The estate agent claimed to know
nothing about Qatada moving in, and told The Sun: 'We thought
the company that rented it was part of the Home Office, or they worked
with the Home Office.'
His new home is being rented out at
taxpayers' expense for around 1,400 a month – as the cost to British
taxpayers of keeping the Al Qaeda fanatic continues to rise.
It has emerged that Qatada –
once described as Osama bin Laden's 'right-hand man in Britain', has
received more than 500,000 in legal aid.
The vast bill for funding the Al Qaeda
fanatic’s decade-long legal battle against the British government was
last night described as ‘sickening’ by a campaign group.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the payment of such large sums dented public confidence in the legal system.
Spiralling cost: Theresa May has vowed to continue to deport Qatada, pictured outside his home in November after being released on bail
Qatada is fighting attempts to deport him to
his native Jordan where he is wanted on charges of terrorism.
removal is being blocked under human rights law amid concerns some of
the evidence which may be used against him could have been obtained by
He was freed from jail on strict bail
conditions last month, pending an appeal by the Home Secretary. Previous
estimates had placed his legal aid bill at less than 400,000.
But, in a
written Parliamentary answer, the Ministry of Justice revealed that, as
of December 5, the department had provided 515,778 in legal aid
funding to the cleric.
A satellite dish is removed from the hate preacher's old home
Ministers confirmed the total cost
will be higher, warning: ‘The legal services commission has not received
final claims from Abu Qatada’s solicitors.’
Mr Grayling said: ‘We must
never lose sight of the fact that legal aid is paid for by the taxpayer.
‘The total costs in some cases seem very high, and many – myself included – will question whether they provide value for money.’
Matthew Sinclair, of the TaxPayers’
Alliance, said: ‘Legal aid is there to ensure everyone has equal access
to justice, but it is sickening to see the extent to which this vile
hate preacher has been taking advantage of it.’
The total public bill for Qatada is
estimated to have now reached 3million. Keeping him in a maximum
security prison for more than eight years has cost the taxpayer an
The Home Office has confirmed its own
legal bill for trying to deport him has so far totalled 825,000.
Qatada’s home is monitored round-the clock by security staff at a cost
of 100,000 a week.
In 2009 the House of Lords ruled it
was safe to deport Qatada, but earlier this year the European Court of
Human Rights said he would not receive a fair trial. That verdict has
since been upheld by British immigration judges.
Removal men were seen outside the radical cleric's north-West London home, loading possessions, including a large satellite dish and what looked like a personal cross-trainer, into a van
US terror series: Mandy Patinkin, left, and Claire Danes, right, in a scene from Homeland