SAMANTHA Louise Lewthwaite is accused of causing the deaths of more than 400 people, thanks to her involvement in Somalia-based Islamic militant group, al-Shabaab.
The Northern Ireland-born terrorist is one of the subjects in Netflix’s true-crime docu-series World’s Most Wanted.
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Who is Samantha Lewthwaite?
Samantha was born on December 5, 1983, to Andrew and Elizabeth Lewthwaite in Banbridge, County Down in Northern Ireland.
She studied for a politics and religion degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, but dropped out.
Lewthwaite was badly affected by her parents’ divorce in 1994 and “sought solace from Muslim neighbours who she believed had a stronger family network.”
Lewthwaite was raised a Christian but converted to Islam when she was 17. She adopted the Muslim name Sherafiyah at the time of her conversion.
Lewthwaite met Germaine Lindsay at a Stop the War protest in London; they subsequently married in Aylesbury on 30 October 2002.
Samantha is often referred to as the “White Widow” as she is the widow of the 7/7 London terrorist bomber Germaine Lindsay.
What is she accused of?
Lewthwaite is a fugitive from justice in Kenya where she is wanted on charges of possession of explosives as well as ones relating to conspiracy to commit a felony.
She is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice, requesting her arrest with a view to being extradited.
The White Widow has also been accused of being a member of the Somalia-based Islamic militant group al-Shabaab and orchestrating grenade attacks on non-Muslim places of worship.
She is also thought be behind an attack on a bar in Mombasa which was filled with football fans during Euro 2012.
Her upbringing was a world away from her origins in County Down where her father Andrew was a former soldier in the British Army.
On July 7, 2005, Germaine Lindsay blew himself and 26 others up on a tube train travelling from King’s Cross to Russell Square.
Lewthwaite was eight months pregnant at the time with their second child, a daughter.
At the time she denied any prior knowledge of the attacks and said she was “horrified by the atrocities”.
At the inquest though it was revealed she knew the ringleader of the bombers, Mohammad Sidique Kahn, before the attacks.
Authorities in the UK and Kenya believe Lewthwaite has used at least three names in a bid to escape justice with one name being Natalie Webb.
A photo in one of the three passports included a picture which was said to have a “strong likeness to Lewthwaite”.
She is believed to have links with al-Shabaab and a terrorist cell planning attacks in Kenya as reprisal for anti-terror operations in Somalia.
Kenyan authorities issued an arrest warrant for Lewthwaite on January 4, 2012.
She was later named as a suspect involved with the June 2-12 grenade attack on the Jericho Bar in Mombasa when it was packed with football fans watching the Euro 2012 game between England and Italy.
Lewthwaite, so far, has managed to evade capture and is still at large.
Where is she now?
The whereabouts of Samantha Lewthwaite remain a mystery to this day.
There have been reports of her rumoured death in November 2014 when a Russian news agency said Lewthwaite had been killed by a pro-Russian separatist sniper in Donbas where it had been thought she was fighting for the pro-Ukrainian Aidar Battalion, but those claims have never been verified.
It is believed that Samantha is still alive and living somewhere in Kenya or Somalia.
Timeline of Samantha Lewthwaite
December 1983: Born to Christian parents Andrew and Christine in Northern Ireland.
1994: Samantha’s parents divorce. She seeks solace from Muslim neighbours.
2011: Samantha converts to Islam and begins wearing a hijab (later a jilbab)
2002: She meets Germaine Lindsay at a Stop The War Protest. They later marry.
2003: Germaine and Samantha move to Northern Road, Aylesbury.
2004: Their first child, a boy, is born.
September 2004: Samantha meets Mohammad Siddique Khan, the ringleader of the July 7 terror attacks.
July 7, 2005: Germaine Linsday detonates a bomb on a Piccadilly Line train between King’s Cross and Russell Square, killing himself and 26 passengers.
July 2005: A week after the attack, Samantha report to the police that her husbnd is missing. She claims to know nothing about the 7/7 bombings.
September 2005: Samantha gives birth to a girl, the father is Linsday.
July 2009: Samantha gives birth to a third child, the father is unknown.
August 2011: Samantha travels to Kenya using a fake passport under the name Natalie Faye Webb.
January 2012: Kenyan police issue a wanted notice for Natalie Webb (later changed to Samantha Lewthwaite, after they discovered her true identity), after finding evidence in her house that she may have been planning attacks targeting hotels and tourists in Mombasa during Christmas 2011.
July 2012: Samantha was named as one of the suspects involved in a 24 June 2012 grenade attack on the Jericho bar in Mombasa.
September 2013: Lewthwaite’s name was linked with attack claimed by Al-Shabaab on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, which left 71 dead and approximately 200 injured.
April 2015: Samantha is linked with the deaths of 148 people in a terrorist attack on a University in Kenya.