Jeremy Corbyn: UK jihadist Sally-Anne Jones should have faced trial

A British jihadist reportedly killed by a US drone strike in Syria should have faced trial, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said.

Asked if he would have preferred Sally-Anne Jones to be prosecuted, he said: “I think that people who have committed crimes ought to be put on trial.

“That way… when you interrogate someone, you get more information.”

Jones had recruited Western girls to the so-called Islamic State after travelling to Syria in 2013.

It is understood she was killed in June, close to the border between Syria and Iraq by a US Air Force strike.

Whitehall officials have declined to comment publicly on her case, but have not denied the story.

The former punk musician from Chatham, Kent, had encouraged people to carry out attacks in Britain and had offered guidance on how to build a bomb.

Asked about her death, first reported by the Sun, Mr Corbyn said it was unconfirmed but “quite clearly it is significant, if it has happened”.

The next steps should involve getting “everyone back around the table to get a political solution, because we cannot go on with having a war for ever”.

He said he would have preferred that Jones had faced trial, adding: “I represent a constituency that lost many people in 7/7 [the 2005 London bombings], and we remember what happened that day.”

Mr Corbyn, said it was difficult to answer a question about whether he would have ordered a drone strike to kill Jones if British troops had been at risk, as it was hypothetical.

He said: “I think we have to look at very carefully the effects on the civilian population of any bombing that takes place before such a decision is made.”

‘Legitimate target’

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said he would not comment on the individual case.

But he added: “If you are a British national in Iraq or Syria and you have chosen to fight for Daesh [IS] – an illegal organisation that is preparing and inspiring terror attacks on our streets then you have made yourself a legitimate target and you run the risk every hour of every day of being on the wrong end of an RAF or United States missile.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “aware of the reports” around Jones’s death but was “not in a position to comment further”.

News of Jones’s death has not previously been made public amid fears that her 12-year-old son, Jojo, may also have been killed in the June strike, according to the Sun.

The BBC’s Frank Gardner said although it was “very likely” Sally-Anne Jones had been killed, it was difficult to be certain because that would require sending a special forces team to gather DNA.