By Martin Brunt, crime correspondent
A neighbour where terror suspect Ali Harbi Ali grew up described him as “a friendly kid who used to kick a ball around in the street”.
The man said he remembered him as a young boy who lived in the quiet street for many years until he left for university.
Ali, now 25, lived in a small terraced house with his mother and three siblings, said the neighbour, who did not want to be identified.
He said that “the father hadn’t lived there for a long time, but Ali was there” with a younger brother and two sisters.
“We didn’t see much of them, all four were head down and studying. When he was younger Ali used to kick a ball around outside here. He was a friendly kid,” he said.
The neighbour added: “I didn’t know them well, but I remember Ali having the same name as his father whom was Ali too.
“It’s been a bit of a shock, watching the news on TV and then seeing the Old Bill here at the house. It’s a great shame, I feel very sorry for the mother.”
Police visited and searched the modest house in the tree-lined street near the centre of Croydon, south London, on Saturday, but have since left. There was no response today.