One of the suspects in the killing of a British military drummer last week saw a friend “literally sliced to pieces” when they were both teenagers.

That victim, 18-year-old Faridon Alizada, was stabbed to death in 2008 by a bare knuckle fighter who was suffering from a drug induced psychotic episode. Michael Adebowale, one of the alleged assailants in last week’s slaying and Alizada’s friend, was stabbed too. Some of the boys were involved in a local gang.

Reports Saturday say Adebowale’s mother sought help from a local mosque out of fear that her son was losing his grip on reality when he dropped out of college nine months ago. Both Adebowale and 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, the other suspect in the recent killing, appear to have converted to Islam around the time they left college.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Independent:

Adebolajo was said to have been popular at his school in Romford, Essex, but Adebowale was bullied at Kidbrooke High School in Greenwich.

A friend who has known him since he was 11 told The Times: “He was one of us … just normal, nothing completely evil about him at all. He went around preaching Islam, preaching peace though. I must say the whole reform into Islam was quite a sudden change. It was a big shock. But it suited him. It looked like he was doing well.”

Simone Edwards, 22, a close friend of Adebowale’s, said that he converted after being bullied at school. She said: “He was kind of having problems with a couple of gangs. I think he was just looking for somewhere to belong. When he found Islam he finally found a piece of family.”

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