SURREY — A Surrey couple charged with plotting a terrorist attack against the B.C. legislature lived on welfare, visited a local mosque and listened to radical Islamist tapes in their basement suite, their landlady said Tuesday.
Shanti Thaman said she was stunned to learn that John Stewart Nuttall, 38, and Amanda Korody, 30, had been charged after police foiled a bomb plot targeting revelers at Canada Day festivities in Victoria on Monday.
“It is shocking. We never suspected this,” Thaman said, as police searched the house Tuesday afternoon. “Someone is using them.”
She said Nuttall and Korody were recovering addicts who received regular deliveries from a pharmacy, possibly of methadone. “If you saw them, they looked like they are not 100 percent okay,” Thaman said. “Someone must be brainwashing them.”
She said Nuttall, who had lived in the house on 120th Street for about three years, always paid the rent on time.
When he first moved in, he was not a practising Muslim, but converted to Islam about two years ago and began attending a nearby mosque with Korody, who would wear a burqa, Thaman said.
Both were arrested in Abbotsford Monday and are charged with knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity, possession of an explosive substance and conspiring to commit an indictable offence.
They have been remanded in custody until July 9.
Reflecting on the situation Tuesday, Thaman said there were several recent incidents of concern.
Nuttall was firing a pellet gun on their property and her husband told him to stop.
And about three weeks ago, the RCMP evacuated several houses on the block saying a truck filled with hazardous chemicals had been left nearby, posing a safety risk. At the time, officers asked her about the couple in the basement suite and she led them downstairs to knock on the door.
Neither Nuttall nor Korody were home, Thaman said.
Nuttall told her last week that he wouldn’t be able to pay the entire rent until this week because he needed money for something.
And the couple had started leaving their suite for two or three days at a time, always returning with someone driving a black pickup truck, Thaman said.
She said Nuttall was always polite and somewhat timid. He was raised by his grandmother in Victoria, who also moved into the Surrey suite for a couple of months. She has since relocated, Thaman said.
She said she believed both Nuttall and Korody have parents in Toronto and that Christmas presents arrived from Korody’s family in December.
Thaman painted a portrait of a couple who lived simply, who had no furniture in their apartment and used their social assistance money to pay the rent and occasionally go out for coffee. She said she sometimes gave them food because she realized they had very little.
• Read more Vancouver Sun stories at vancouversun.com