Three schoolgirls bought make-up and underwear, and carefully crafted a list of items worth more than £2,000 to flee to Syria, with their families in the dark about the source of the cash, it has been reported.
Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, who attended Bethnal Green Academy in east London, are believed to be staying at a house in the Syrian city of al Raqqa, Sky News reported, where they are under the care of Glaswegian schoolgirl Aqsa Mohammed, who was contacted by Begum on Twitter.
CCTV showed the girls waiting for 18 hours at an Istanbul bus station, despite British authorities insisting they had reported them missing to the Turkish consulate within a day. Turkey said it received no information for three days.
A handwritten list seen by the Guardian newspaper, written in two different handwriting styles, appears to be show the how the girls prepared to join Islamic State. The list includes the French word for 'ticket', with a quote for around £1,000 for flights to Turkey. The total cost is listed at more than £2,000, a large sum which the girls' families insist they have no idea where it might have come from.
Items on the list include a £50 epilator, sets of underwear for £12, socks, a mobile phone, make-up, new boots and a new bra. Different handwriting lists the costs of travel, including the costs of visas, a coach, a taxi and a hotel room, as well as how much cash to bring, according to the Guardian's report.
Scotland Yard was forced to admit at the weekend that the families had not been informed that a 15-year-old fellow student at the three girls' school had gone to the war-torn country, but rather only that she had gone missing.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe should apologise for issuing a misleading statement about information passed on to the families of the three girls, their solicitor has said.
The Met admitted police should have communicated more directly with the families, instead of sending letters about the teenager's disappearance home with the girls themselves, who are believed to have hidden them inside their school textbooks.
Police said "with the benefit of hindsight" the letters should have been delivered directly to the families, who have criticised the police for their handling of the investigation.
Hogan-Howe is due to give evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Committee tomorrow.
Solicitor Tasnime Akunjee, told the Guardian: "I would encourage the commissioner in his upcoming select committee appearance on Tuesday to do the right thing by these distraught parents and say sorry. It is a disgrace that the Met in their original press release effectively accused their families of being liars.
"The families have expressed that the deepest source of upset in this affair has been the failure by the police to inform them of the fact that the first girl to go missing had gone to Syria, a fact that was only known to them after their own children had also gone missing.
"It is precisely the failure to communicate this key piece of information which disabled the family from intervention in the children's plans."