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'Shocked' uncle says doesn't know who 'real' Headley is

As Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley pleaded guilty to plotting Mumbai attacks, his maternal uncle says his nephew's involvement in the "mass murders" makes him wonder who the "real" David Headley is.

world Updated: Mar 20, 2010 01:15 IST

As Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley pleaded guilty to plotting Mumbai attacks, his maternal uncle says his nephew's involvement in the "mass murders" makes him wonder who the "real" David Headley is.

"I was really shocked, it was like you had poured cold water inside my chest," Headley's uncle William Headley told CNN.

"We absolutely cannot imagine it. It is not consistent with anything that we know of his personality and his personality is very complicated. But the mass murders... I can't see it".

William said he was in disbelief that his own nephew was connected with the massacre in Mumbai.

Headley wrote letters to his uncle from a Chicago jail, addressing him as "Dear Uncle Billy (Mama)".

William said Headley had communicated to him that he was doubtful he would be let off, after he was arrested on terror charges in October last year.

In a letter dated December 18, 2009, Headley wrote to his uncle that "despite his heritage, he is now a 100 per cent Muslim."

"Though he considered himself innocent until proven guilty, Headley hinted that he did not expect to be acquitted and he had communicated that to me also," William said.

"That is important also. If he is guilty and he is charged with it, then in that case he has done something terrible and has to pay the price. I truly hope and I think there could be a surprise ending to this," William added.

Headley, son of a Pakistani diplomat and a Philadelphia socialite, was torn between two different worlds.

Headley, with one green and one brown eye, had married a "blonde American beauty" but later divorced her and took a Muslim wife. In late 1990s, he worked as a video shop manager in New York. But was then convicted of smuggling heroin into the US.

"Daood (Headley's original name) had said to himself that if I get free of this (smuggling of heroin case), I am going to commit myself to God. So that is when I would say he became a serious Muslim," William said.

Headley's co-conspirators in the heroin case got 10 years in prison while Headley was let off in just 15 months, due to his cooperation.

His family believes that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) sent him regularly to Pakistan and Afghanistan to establish contacts with heroin drug dealers, where he must have met extremist terror groups and become influenced by the LeT.