A SWELTERING summer’s morning and all is quiet on Lees Holm.
There is, in fact, no sign of life on the unassuming cul-de-sac in the Thornhill Lees area of Dewsbury, save for a young boy out riding a bike. The scene in the same street a shade under 10 years ago, however, could not have been more different.
It was then, at around 7am on July 12, 2005, that police moved in and raided the home of 7/7 suicide bomber and plot ringleader Mohammad Sidique Khan.
Khan’s old house is one of four red-brick terrace properties that stand at the far end of the street.
A knock on its door brings no answer and it is impossible to tell if anyone is at home behind the net curtains that hang in its front windows.
Mohmed Dokrad, who lives a few houses away, tells the Yorkshire Evening Post that new residents moved in last year.
The 34-year-old clothes maker says: “This is a tight-knit community but we don’t really talk about what happened [in 2005]. It’s in the past. If anything, I would say it brought people closer together.”
Another Lees Holm resident, 66-year-old retired glazer Allan Lockwood, lived on the street when 2005’s raids were carried out.
Giving his memories of the time, he says: “It was obviously a shock, to have something like that on your doorstep. I remember the road was blocked off but you could get in and out if you lived here.
“The police asked me if I thought there would be any local repercussions and I said I didn’t think so. I didn’t know [Khan]. I’d see him coming and going but that would be about it.”
Mr Lockwood was, of course, far from alone in not knowing the truth about Khan, the 30-year-old terrorist who killed six people when he blew himself up on a Tube train at Edgware Road. He was originally from Beeston in Leeds and appeared to be a pillar of the community, steering local youths away from crime and drugs by organising outdoor activities and helping to set up a gym in a mosque basement.
In 2001 he became a learning mentor at Beeston’s Hillside Primary School, where he worked with disaffected and vulnerable pupils with behavioural problems. Khan married wife Hasina in 2002 and, together with their baby daughter, they moved to Lees Holm a few months prior to 7/7.
Their new home was only a short walk away from the house of Hasina’s widowed mother, respected community worker Farida Patel, in the smart cul-de-sac of Thornhill Park Avenue.
That property was also raided on July 12, 2005, and yesterday one resident on the street told the YEP: “As far as I am aware [Mrs Patel] never came back to the house. Everything was supposedly cleared out a few days after the raid and someone else lives there now.”
The swoops on Lees Holm and Thornhill Park Avenue followed the discovery of a membership card in the name of ‘Sidique Khan’ at the site of 7/7’s Aldgate bombing.
Then, on July 11, police at Scotland Yard – tasked with checking thousands of hours of CCTV footage from the morning of the bombings – came across images of four men at King’s Cross, all carrying identical large rucksacks.
One of them was Mohammad Sidique Khan, the family man and father figure who would, less than 24 hours later, be exposed as a murderous fanatic.