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Last Updated: Friday, 28 November, 2003, 13:07 GMT
Shock as 'walking angel' arrested
Gloucester street sealed off
Local residents are shocked at events in the area
The Gloucester community where a man has been arrested in connection with an anti-terror probe has been shocked to the core.

People are finding it hard to believe what has happened to one of their friends and neighbours.

Daniel Jeffrey, an old school friend of Sajid Badat, said he had been stunned to hear the news about the "quiet, intelligent lad" he had known.

Another local, Abdul Jaffer, described Mr Badat as a "walking angel".

Mr Jeffrey, 25, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the arrest had been "very scary".

He lived two streets away from Mr Badat's St James Street home, but his girlfriend now wanted them to move.

Describing Mr Badat, Mr Jeffrey said: "From infant school and junior school he was a very quiet boy, very intelligent lad - never in any trouble, always teacher's pet, bit of a boffin as such, really.

He was a very bright lad who respected things and people
Abdul Jaffer on Sajid Badat
"He kept himself to himself, never ever got into trouble, never had any enemies. It's a shock to hear his name come up in these circumstances."

Mr Jeffrey said that at school, he and Mr Badat had been part of a mixed group of Muslim and white children who had "all got on well".

"There was never any racism or anything like that, we all had a good laugh. You don't expect it on your own doorstep really, do you?"

Football fan

Mr Jaffer, who owns Bismallah Butchers, near the suspect's home, said Mr Badat had gone to St James's Primary school with his son Mohammed.

He said Mr Badat was a Liverpool football fan, and was extremely bright.

He was a successful student who worked with maturity and commitment
David Lamper
Head teacher, Crypt Grammar School
"He was a very intelligent boy who always spoke out if something was wrong. He was a very bright lad who respected things and people.

"When he grew up he told people to stay away from the streets."

Of the arrest Abdul Jaffer said: "Straight away I said 'it can't be'. I still believe he is innocent. He's a walking angel."

His son Mohammed said Mr Badat was a sociable, open, football-loving man who had played for his local club.

The Jaffers added that they believed Mr Badat had recently been to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Four A-levels

The Crypt Grammar School in Gloucester where Mr Badat was a pupil from 1990 to 1997 also said it was "shocked" at the news of the arrest.

A statement released by head teacher David Lamper said: "He was a successful student who worked with maturity and commitment."

The school added that Mr Badat had got 10 GCSEs before achieving four A-levels in biology, chemistry, physics and general studies.

"He was a quiet boy who took his religious beliefs very seriously," a spokesman said.

He was "punctual, cheerful and polite", he added.

The BBC's Yvonne Ndege
"The man is now being questioned at a police station in central London"

Police question 'al-Qaeda' suspect
28 Nov 03  |  Gloucestershire
Terror threat sparks new powers
26 Nov 03  |  Politics


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