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White Widow

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Dec 2011

Linked to terrorist cell, escapes


Radicalized Briton Jermaine Grant is arrested in Mombasa on charges of possessing bomb-making materials in connection with a planned attack on tourists over Christmas 2011.  Grant rents a expensive house near a string of luxury hotels, and Lewthwait lives there.  Police question but don’t arrest her, believing her to be an innocent tourist.  She then disappears, possibly fleeing to Somalia.

Jul 2008

In South Africa under stolen identity


Enters South Africa as Natalie Faye Webb, using a fraudulently obtained passport.  Works as an IT specialist at a halaal pie factory in south-west of Johannesburg, racking up big loan and charge card debts.  Later described as a quiet woman who keeps to herself, she lives in Mayfair, a Muslim area, keeps a post office box in nearby Brixton, and leases property in a suburb across town.  Between now and February 2011, when the passport is placed on a stop list, she enters and leaves the country several times.


Enters college


Enrolls in the School of Oriental and African Studies in Russell Square, London, for a degree in religion but leaves without graduating.


Converts to Islam


Lewthwaite becomes more withdrawn after parents separate in the 1990s.  She starts confiding in a local Muslim family and converts to Islam in her teens, taking the name Sherafiyah and wearing the hijab.