Before he was ISIS' notorious executioner, Mohammed Emwazi was an upscale Londoner—and one who apparently felt persecuted, according to old email correspondence between Emwazi and journalist Robert Verkaik dating back to 2010 and 2011. In them, published yesterday in the Daily Mail, Emwazi discusses feeling like MI5 is scrutinizing him: "Sometimes i feel like im a dead man walking, not fearing they may kill me. Rather, fearing that one day, I’ll take as many pills as I can so that I can sleep for ever!! I just want to get away from these people!!!" Recalls Verkaik, "Like many young Muslim men at the time who I had interviewed, he appeared to have a grievance against the police and MI5. But this man was different" and had "a warped sense of injustice."
In the emails, Emwazi describes trying to sell a laptop to someone he thought was with MI5: "I gave him the laptop (thinking that hes going to test the laptop) & he gave me the money straight-away... We "shacked hands" & he said "nice doing business with you Mohammed". I NEVER TOLD THIS PERSON MY FIRST NAME!! & I NEVER GIVE OUT MY FIRST NAME!! IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO KNOW MY FIRST NAME!!" He added: "I felt shocked, & paused for a few seconds as he walked away... I knew it was them!!" Though Emwazi may have felt watched, the BBC notes that UK counterterror forces are taking a fair amount of heat for allowing him to slip into Syria. A Scotland Yard rep counters that such investigations have "increased enormously" in the interim, with 165 such arrests last year, compared to 25 in 2013.