Begum, 15, travelled to Syria in December less than a year after suffering the trauma of the death of her mother from cancer. And in February, her three closest friends – all of them students at Bethnal Green Academy in east London followed her.
The girl and her three friends – Kadiza Sultana, 16, Shamima Begum, 15, and Amira Abase, 15 are now believed to be living in Raqqa, the Islamic State stronghold.
Sharmeena’s distressed father, Mohammad Uddin, has issued an emotional plea for his only child to get in touch with him.
‘Wherever you are, please come back,’ he said, ‘I’m missing you lots. I need to get my daughter back. Every night and every day is difficult – she was my one and only child. I wish she would contact me to say she is well.’
However, Police told Uddin that two women had encouraged Sharmeena to join the Islamic State in Iraq and taken the girl to Gatwick airport for a flight to Istanbul. She was then thought to have made her way overland through Turkey to the Syrian border.