White widow scare: suspected sighting at North East hotel ruled as false alarm

A suspected sighting of one of the world's most wanted terrorists at a North East hotel has been ruled as a false alarm.

Police  investigated a reported sighting of terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite, dubbed the 'White Widow'.
Police investigated a reported sighting of terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite, dubbed the 'White Widow'.

A woman resembling Samantha Lewthwaite, dubbed the White Widow, had been spotted at the four-star Bannatyne Hotel in Darlington, County Durham, on Boxing Day.

Durham Police launched a probe into the sighting of a guest resembling the infamous terror queen, who was once married to July 7 bomber Germaine Lindsay.

Hotel owner and Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne tweeted at the time: “lady in question checked out on Boxing Day & police have her car registration & our CCTV image so why warn her?”

However, police have now issued a statement saying they are satisfied that the woman in question was not the White Widow.


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A Durham Constabulary police spokesperson said: “Following the reported sighting on 26th December 2015 at Darlington of Samantha Lewthwaite, enquiries have been conducted and police are satisfied that the person reported is not Samantha Lewthwaite.”

Lewthwaite, 32, is currently on a list of high profile targets being hunted by Interpol after she was linked to a series of bloody attacks in Africa.

She is thought to have fled Britain for Africa before joining militant group al-Shabaab following the 2005 attacks in London.

Dubbed the world’s most wanted woman, she is said to have been involved in a series of atrocities, including the 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi and the Garissa University College massacre in April last year. Over 200 were killed in the attacks.


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Originally from Northern Ireland, Lewthwaite has used the alias Natalie Webb, and took the Muslim name Sherafiyah Lewthwaite when she converted to Islam as a teen.

She is the subject of a Red Notice by Interpol, who issued the international arrest warrant at the request of Kenyan authorities.