THE appalled widow of London Bridge terrorist Rachid Redouane has told how he took their toddler daughter to collect the van used in the deadly attack.
Charisse O’Leary, 41, visited pals for a barbecue unaware her estranged husband was making final preparations for the massacre.
Redouane, 30, took the 20-month-old with him as he met ringleader Khuram Butt, 27, and accomplice Youssef Zaghba, 22, at a B&Q.
A rented Renault van was there, which they bulked out with 29 bags of gravel — giving it extra weight to ram innocents on the street.
Charisse said: “He took my daughter with those other monsters to get the van for the attack.
“I still can’t believe it. How could he do that to his own daughter?
“I had gone out to a barbecue with friends and I believed our daughter was safe. Instead she was with deadly terrorists while they were planning to kill good, innocent people.
“Nothing can ever change that. My daughter will always be tarnished by that evil. When he brought my daughter back I had no idea – but she was soaking wet.
JIHADI’S ‘PURITY’ RITUALS
“He hadn’t changed her nappy that day – because he had wanted to stay clean and holy.”
He handed back their daughter at 7pm, three hours before the attack on June 3, 2017.
Charisse recalled reaching out to thank him for handing over £50 but he dodged her.
The mum said: “Looking back now, it’s obvious he wanted to be pure before he met God. I asked if he was going to see his daughter tomorrow. He said, ‘Ah my phone’ then turned and ran. That was the last time I saw him alive.”
WIDOW’S HOME RAIDED
Anti-terror cops blasted their way into her flat in Barking, East London, at 7am the next day – nine hours after the terror attack.
Dagenham-born Charisse, who refused to convert to Islam or let their girl be brought up as a Muslim, said: “It was terrifying. I was asleep in bed with my daughter and I remember these huge bangs.
“I opened my eyes and the room was filled with smoke. I saw debris across the floor. I got out of bed thinking the ceiling had collapsed then I heard shouts of, ‘Get down, get down’.
“These men with masks and guns ran in and I started screaming. My daughter was screaming.
“There was a full SWAT team in assault gear with huge guns. One shouted, ‘Get the baby’. I thought we were going to die. I couldn’t stop shaking. They held me in the stairwell for two hours while they pulled my flat apart.”
She went on: “The whole building started evacuating so I couldn’t understand why me and my daughter were still there.
“People were screaming, ‘Someone’s been shot’ so my instinct was to run but the officers kept hold of me. I burst into tears and begged to leave but they wouldn’t let me. Eventually CID arrived and said, ‘Leave your daughter here’ and pointed next to the bins.
“An officer said, ‘Who’s your husband?’ so I told him we were separated. A cop said, ‘Have you seen the news last night? Or this morning?’ He said there’d been an incident at London Bridge and they thought Rachid was involved.
“I still had no idea what they were talking about. They asked who his friends were but I didn’t know. Then they told me they were arresting me on suspicion of terrorism and I started panicking.
“I thought they must have made a mistake. They put me in handcuffs and put a coat over the top. Then one grabbed me by the arm and led me out of the building.
“It was like a film set. There were dozens of people watching. I was in floods of tears.”
IT ‘CHANGED EVERYTHING’
Hours later cops told her Redouane had been killed by police. She said: “I couldn’t believe he could be involved, not the man I had married. It didn’t make sense. I was so angry and confused. I believed I’d never leave jail.
“At 6pm a solicitor came to see me. I’ll never forget that moment as long as I live. It changed everything. She said three men including Rachid had been driving a van and trying to hit people.
“She told me they got out and randomly started stabbing people.
“I started screaming. I just thought this can’t be happening – this can’t be the person I know. She said five people had died but others were fighting for life. I felt sick – I just wanted it to not be true. I couldn’t understand. I hoped they might have the wrong person – but I could tell they knew.” That night Charisse was grilled by anti-terror cops on her marriage and Redouane’s background.
I knew my life was in pieces… I hated him
The mum said: “That was the worst night life of my life. I wished I was dead. I thought I would be better off because of all the hurt and pain. People were dead. I was thinking about their families wondering who they were.
“I prayed they weren’t children. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. The night felt like it went on for ever.”
Charisse was released on Monday after 36 hours, with cops telling her she would face no further action.
But she said: “I already knew my life was in pieces. I got to my mum’s house and there were hundreds of people there.
“I picked up my daughter and just cried and cried. I hated him. At the time I was grateful he was dead. It was only later I realised being dead was the easy option. Being dead is easier than being left to face everything like us.
“People have said me and my daughter should have been sent to Syria to die.”
Eight people eventually died in the London Bridge attack.
Charisse, who gave evidence at their inquests, said: “Every day I am so sorry for the victims. The truth is we are victims too.”
She revealed her family were suspicious of Redouane after they met at a club in 2010.
Charisse said: “Some were furious I was dating a Muslim. One called him a shoe-bomber. But they learned to accept him. The truth is everyone loved him then.”
She blamed herself for not spotting his radicalisation, and added: “He got what he wanted and died. But he’s left us to deal with it all.”
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