Lottery-Winning Imprisoned ‘Jihadist’ Could Threaten UK Politician’s Safety
A self-proclaimed jihadist currently incarcerated in the UK for attempted murder and threatening politicians has won the lottery.
Rakeem Malik, formerly Paul Anthony Harrison until his conversion to Islam, scooped £100,000 (US$113,000) on a lottery scratch card while he was on day release from a secure mental health unit. That’s according to Labour MP Jess Phillips, to whom Malik sent death threats from his prison cell in 2020.
The 54-year-old prisoner was sentenced to five years for threats to Phillips and other politicians, including then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson and former Prime Minister Theresa May. That was on top of the life sentence he received in 1999 for attempting to strangle a cellmate to death with his shoelaces.
But during a recent parliamentary debate on the government’s controversial new National Security Bill, Phillips revealed that anti-terrorism police had “turned up mob-handed [in great numbers] to my office” after Malik’s windfall.
Police explained they were concerned Malik would use the money to do Phillips harm.
“The threats were jihadist in nature and largely about how the person in prison – obviously a risk factor, on the balance of probabilities – was working with people on the outside to kill me and my family,” Phillips said.
Malik has transferred the lottery winnings into his prison account, The Mail on Sunday reports, without citing the source of its knowledge.
During his poison-pen spree, Malik threatened to rape and murder Phillips and to eat May’s corpse. He promised Johnson he would kill him “by Christmas,” The Daily Mail reported last year.
A Prison Service spokesperson told the Mail that Malik’s spending is closely monitored, and he can only buy approved items like food, toiletries, and video games.
“Spending by prisoners is tightly restricted and any transfers are subject to approval by prison staff,” the spokesperson said.
And, under certain circumstances, lottery tickets. While inmates are forbidden from gambling in prison, there is no law in the UK that prohibits them from buying lottery tickets while on day release or from keeping the winnings.
In 2004, the year that the UK National Lottery launched and was therefore still somewhat controversial, serial rapist and Iorworth Hoare won £7 million (US$8 million) with a ticket he purchased while on day release.
One of his victims started civil proceeding for damages, but the case was dismissed because too much time had elapsed. The victim had neglected to sue Hoare at the time of the crime, 16 years earlier, because he was penniless. Instead, she had claimed £5,000 (US$5,680) from the government’s victim compensation scheme.
The House of Lords overturned the decision and the victim was awarded £50,000 ($57,000) in compensation. Hoare was required to pay costs for both sides of around £800,000 (US$909,000).
He was released in 2005 after 30 years behind bars.
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