CPS drop terrorism charges against former paratrooper who fought against Islamic State

Martin Evans
·3-min read
Daniel Burke who fought against Isil was arrested last year
Daniel Burke who fought against Isil was arrested last year

Prosecutors face having to explain why they suddenly dropped a terrorism case against a former soldier who had been held in prison for six months accused helping the Kurds in their fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Former paratrooper, Daniel Burke, 33, was charged with helping his friend Daniel Newey, 27, travel to the Middle East to join the Kurdish resistance.

He was charged alongside Mr Newey’s father, Paul, 49, and brother Sam, 19, and all three were due to stand trial at Birmingham Crown Court. 

But on Friday all the charges were dropped at the Old Bailey following a Crown Prosecution Service review of the case.

The decision followed bids by the defence for the disclosure of more information held by the prosecution. 

The Crown Prosecution Service will now have a week to consider the matter before they have to return to court and explain their decision.

Andrew Hall QC, for Mr Burke, who was held on remand, told the court it was in the "interests of justice" to know what had happened.

Richard Thomas, who represented Mr Newey senior, said his client was a "hard working man vilified in this country and abroad as a terrorist". 

He told the court: "We say he is entitled to an explanation.”

After the hearing  Mr Newey senior, who was accused of funding terrorism by sending money to his son in Syria, said he had been left feeling "disgusted and angry". 

He said: "There was no crime committed because it's not terrorism - because my son (Daniel Newey) is not a terrorist. 

“He was there (in Syria) fighting with the allied forces against Isis.   "He was doing the right thing - he has gone to put his life at risk for other people for no gain to himself.” 

He denounced the decision to press charges as “madness” and “laughable”. 

Mr Burke, who served with the British Army between 2007 to 2009, later volunteered to fight alongside the Kurds in Iraq after becoming horrified by the actions of Isil. 

He spent eight months fighting in Iraq and Syria in 2017 and 2018 before returning home to Manchester. 

He was investigated by counter-terrorism police but in June last year was told no further action would be taken  

But in November last year he filmed himself alongside Daniel Newey, in Spain mocking the counter terrorism and saying they would never return to Britain. 

The following month Mr Burke was arrested at Dover and charged with attempting to travel to Syria. 

The prosecution had alleged Mr Burke had repeatedly shown his desire to leave the UK to return to Syria in order to fight for Kurdish militia. 

When he was arrested he told officers: "I'm not a terrorist; you know I am not a terrorist. I have done nothing but fight for this country." 

As well being charged with assisting Mr Newey, Mr Burke, was accused of two other terror offences. 

It was alleged he arranged with others to provide money and military equipment for terrorism and engaging in conduct in preparation to commit, prepare or instigate an act of terrorism between October 7 and December 7 last year. 

In November last year, British Army reject, Aidan James, was jailed for training to fight against Islamic State in 2017.