The father of White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite is appalled by the idea that his daughter may have masterminded the massacre in the Kenyan mall, neighbours have said.
Former soldier Andy Lewthwaite came face to face with the toll of terror attacks when he served in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles in the 1970s.
Now he is struggling to come to terms with allegations that his daughter – already the world’s most wanted woman – was behind the attack that has killed more than 60 people in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi.
A neighbour told the Daily Mirror: ‘Andy is aware of how appalling indiscriminate shootings are.
‘For him to imagine his own daughter is involved in this is very painful.
‘He has been very dignified… his daughter is apparently tarnishing both his reputation and his country’s reputation.’
Their comments come after it emerged that Lewthwaite’s frail 85-year-old grandmother has been admitted to hospital because of the stress of her granddaughter’s notoriety.
Elizabeth Allen, from Banbridge, Co Down, was given a panic alarm to contact security services in case terror suspect Lewthwaite ever made contact.
Family friends say the pressure of the situation and Lewthwaite’s now-global notoriety have taken their toll on the frail pensioner’s health and mental well-being.
Joan Baird, a veteran Ulster Unionist councillor in Banbridge who knows the family, said: ‘This is so distressing for everyone. Mrs Allen is 85 and she is in and out of hospital. It is just so distressing.
‘Certainly, everybody in the town is shocked and distressed by the news.’
Lewthwaite from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, who converted to Islam age 17, was married to Jermaine Lindsay before he blew himself up in the July 7 terror attacks in London in 2005, killing 26.
The 29-year-old mother of three is already wanted by Kenyan police over alleged links to a terrorist cell that planned to bomb the country’s coast.