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Cork-born Breda O’Brien says Osama Bin Laden was the perfect student and a gentleman. Irishwoman taught the world’s most notorious terrorist English. Photo by: Google Images

She taught Bin Laden English and remembers him as a perfect student

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Cork-born Breda O’Brien says Osama Bin Laden was the perfect student and a gentleman. Irishwoman taught the world’s most notorious terrorist English. Photo by: Google Images

Osama Bin Laden was the perfect student and a gentleman – says the Irishwoman who taught the world’s most notorious terrorist English.

Cork-born Breda O’Brien had outlined her experiences working with Bin Laden to the Irish Sun newspaper.

Breda taught Bin Laden and other members of his family English during her time as a teacher in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.

She told Irish Sun “I was there to do a job - to teach him English. We were never going to be friends but he was always courteous and applied himself well to learning how to speak English properly.

“There was nothing to indicate in his demeanour or otherwise that he would become a terrorist.

“I thought he would become one of the leading lights in the Bin Laden family’s vast business and lucrative empire.”

Now retired and living back in Cork, O’Brien never envisaged turning on her television to discover that her former pupil had masterminded the Twin Tower attacks.

She added: “I was caught by surprise. I would never have thought he would have been capable of masterminding something as terrible as the September 11 attacks.”

The 2011 assassination of Bin Laden brought the memories flooding back for O’Brien.

She said: “Even after he was killed I could not stop remembering the 20-year-old who was a handsome but slight young man that I taught.

“He was never impressive or displayed that he had a presence or leadership qualities.

“When I heard he was killed I said a prayer for him and for the people he killed.”

In the interview, Breda also revealed that her job with the Bin Laden family was a private engagement at a time when both she and her late husband Seamus were employed by a college in the city.

She revealed: “We were there to make money, so I jumped at the chance.

“Here in Ireland we would call it a nixer, but I got quite a shock when I was taken in a chauffeured limo to a mansion inside a compound for the first lesson.

“It was then that I learned I was in the Bin Laden house and my job was to teach their son Osama proper English.

“At that time the only thing I knew about them was that they were very rich and influential. I did not meet the father. Instead the mother met me and explained what they wanted.

“Osama had a limited knowledge of English and his grammar and speaking ability was limited.

“He had the basics from school, and they wanted him to be able to converse properly in English.

“I was shown a room where the lessons took place. It was a designated classroom, like a parlour.

“My pupil was about 20. There was nothing warm or welcoming about him, but that would be normal for a Muslim man meeting a Western woman.

“He was never offensive and was dignified and refined, but distant.

“We never spoke about personal matters at all. It was a case of I was there to do a job and I had an hour to do it in, and that was that.”

O’Brien also told the Irish Sun how the Bin Laden house was ‘austere’.

She continued: “There was a huge family presence there as Osama’s dad had his full quota of four wives.

“They paid me for each lesson and the money would be left for me on a table at the entrance.”

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