| A bomb disposal officer inspects the entrance to a home in Lodge Lane, Beeston, near Leeds. (Reuters)
London, July 14: Staff and pupils at Hillside Primary School have been devastated by the discovery that learning mentor Mohammed Sadique Khan was one of the four London bombers.
Khan, who has left wife, Hasina, who comes from a family from India, and a baby girl, used to look after disabled children. He was employed in the school between March 2001 and December 2004 as a learning mentor.
Sarah Balfour, head of the school in the Beeston area of Leeds, said: “He was great with the children and they all loved him. He did so much for them, helping and supporting them and running extra clubs and activities. Sadique was a real asset to the school and always showed 100% commitment.”
The fact that all three of the identified bombers were family men ' the other two, Hasib Mir Hussain, 19, and Shehzad Tanweer, 22, lived with their parents ' and were British citizens has shocked the country.
Hasina, who met her husband when they were students at Leeds University, is expecting a second child.
There is nothing so far to suggest she knew what her husband was planning. On Thursday last week, he detonated his bomb near Edgware Road station.
On Tuesday, the couple’s home was raided at dawn by anti-terrorism officers and has been cordoned off since. Hasina was led away, her face covered in her traditional Muslim dress, and carrying her baby.
Sadique Khan’s father Tika, a foundry worker, and mother Mamaida Begum, had moved from Pakistan to settle in Yorkshire.
Khan went to Pakistan on several occasions in recent years, although he claimed the trips were to visit relatives. Police will now want to know if he was recruited by a terror group in Pakistan.
Balfour confirmed that Khan left the school in December last year after three and a half years, though he had been on sick leave since the previous September.
She added: “We are extremely shocked and find it hard to understand. He worked extremely hard with everyone here.”
A parent, Sharon Stevens, whose 11-year-old daughter is a pupil at the school, said: “I’m just shocked. He was brilliant with the children. He went on trips with the kids and my little girl went with him on a trip to London. If you had any problems, he used to sort them out. I’m just devastated. Just shocked. I am just totally shocked.”
One of Khan’s friends, “Shaz”, said: “Me and Sadique played football together all the time., we went to the gym every week and we often met at the community centre. He was a good man.
“He and the others put on activities for kids in the area, stuff to keep them out of trouble. Sadique was very committed to his religion, but I never heard him say anything extreme or violent.”
Hasina worked in schools in Dewsbury as a neighbourhood enrichment officer.
After she became pregnant, the couple moved to her mother’s home in Thornhill Park Avenue, Dewsbury.
Hasina gave birth to their daughter in May last year and at Christmas they moved to a council house in Lees Holm, a mile away.
Both properties were raided by police on Tuesday. Hasina’s mother Farida Patel, a retired schoolteacher who lives with her son, Arshad, is devastated.
A source close to her said: “It is a terrible shock, they are such a loving family.”