The widow of Boston bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, converted to Islam because she ‘wanted a church with more morals’ than the Roman Catholic one in which she was raised.
The startling claim has been made by Donald Larking, 67, who struck up a friendship with Tamerlan in 2011 when the bomber's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev began caring for Mr Larking’s quadriplegic wife in their home just west of Boston.
According to Mr Larking: ‘She wanted a church with more morals. She felt that mosque would be a safer place for her daughter to go to nursery school.’
Mr Larking, himself a convert from Catholicism to Islam, met Katherine when Zubeidat Tsarnaev returned to Russia last year. Her sons had occasionally covered care shifts for her but, when Zubediat left the country permanently, Katherine took on the role of carer to Mr Larking’s wife.
In comments made to the Boston Globe, Mr Larking claimed that Katherine admitted to becoming disillusioned in the Church following the series of sexual abuse scandals that has engulfed it in recent years.
As previously revealed, Katherine Russell, 24, was the image of an all-American girl when she met and began dating Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
She converted to Islam, dropped out of her studies at Sussex University, Boston, without graduating and married the then promising boxer and athlete in a small ceremony in 2010.
Friends from her hometown of North Kingstown, RI, told MailOnline that Katie, as they knew her, ‘was brainwashed by her super-religious husband.’
They said that after meeting Tsarnaev she was ‘not the same person at all.’
Mr Larking, who suffers from mental and physical disabilities after being shot in the head in a convenience store robbery in 1974, described his friend Tamerlan as, ‘very very religious. He believed that the Koran was the one true word and he loved it."
Soon after the bombings Katherine quit the squalid Cambridge, MA, flat in which she and Tsranaev lived, to return to the home in which she was raised by her father, emergency physician Warren, and mother, Judith, a nurse along with her younger sisters Rebecca, 22, and Anna, 19.
She and her 3-year-old daughter Zahara have been living in the Rhodes Island home since Tsarnaev was killed in a police shoot out on 19 April.