You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

UK terrorist Masood came from quiet roots

Press Association logoPress Association 24/03/2017 David Wilcock, Ben Mitchell, Tom Pugh and Jack Hardy

Khalid Masood's death as a crazed extremist gunned down on Parliament's cobbles after slaughtering a policeman and three other innocent people was a far cry from his quiet Kent roots.

The keen schoolboy footballer grew into a troubled adult in and out of prison for a string of violent crimes, including slashing a man with a knife after a boozy pub row with "racial overtones".

Questions remain over where the man born as Adrian Russell Elms to a single mother in Dartford on Christmas Day 1964 was radicalised.

Reports suggest it could have been during one of his stints behind bars, while others point to time allegedly spent working in Saudi Arabia, home to some of the most virulent Islamic extremism.

The 52-year-old's family moved around during his youth.

His mother Janet Elms is believed to have married Phillip Ajao in 1966, and the killer called himself Adrian Russell Ajao as one of his many identities over the years.

A childhood classmate of Masood described him as a popular pupil who "liked to party".

Stuart Knight was in the same class as the then Adrian Ajao at Huntleys Secondary School for Boys in Tunbridge Wells for five years before they left in 1981.

"He was a very nice guy, down to earth, liked by everyone around him," Mr Knight said.

"There was nothing unassuming about him, he was a very good sportsman, his mother was a Christian, he was an all-round nice guy."

On hearing the news of his former classmate's actions in London, Mr Knight added: "I am really shocked. I spent five years in his class at school, for him it's totally out of character.

"I am in shock... I'm surprised he turned and did what he did."

Masood's criminal career dated back to 1983 and included convictions for assault, GBH and possession of an offensive weapon.

This led him to spend time behind bars at Lewes Prison in East Sussex, Wayland Prison in Norfolk and Ford open prison in West Sussex.

One of his jail terms was a two-year stint for a fight in 2000 outside the Crown and Thistle in Northiam, near Rye in East Sussex that left a man needing 20 stitches in his face.

The report of the court case in the Brighton Argus said that Masood, who stood trial at Hove Crown Court as Adrian Elms, moved to the village "to give his family and himself a better and more tranquil way of life".

Adrian Baker, 51, who has lived in Northiam for 25 years, told the Press Association on Friday that Elms was known as a "troubled" character.

"I'm gobsmacked. He didn't appear to be very religious. He would go into the local pubs," Baker said.

The Telegraph reported that Masood was jailed again three years later for stabbing another man.

He would later mask his life of crime with a CV which claimed he was an experienced English teacher who had worked across the world.

The document, seen by The Sun, lists Masood as a university-educated English teacher with experience working in places such as Saudi Arabia and Luton.

It is understood he never worked as a teacher in any of England's state schools.

At some point after his radicalisation he came to the attention of MI5, but only as a peripheral figure according to Prime Minister Theresa May.

The killer most recently appeared to be based in the West Midlands, but also spent time in London, Sussex and Luton.

After his armed onslaught on Wednesday, police searched a three-storey townhouse in the Winson Green area of Birmingham and neighbours said Masood lived there for around seven months, until December last year.

Masood is also thought to have lived in London, with a man of his name registered to an address in a terraced street in West Ham.

A remote farmhouse in Trelech, Carmarthenshire, thought to be his parents' home, was also searched by police.

More From Press Association

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon