- Nadine Ascencao, 24, dated Tamerlan Tsarnaev for three years
- He tried to make her become a Muslim and wear more modest clothing
- Pair fought after he started going out with future wife Katharine Russell
- Tsarnaev killed with police in shoot-out after Boston Marathon terror attack
The ex-girlfriend of one of the Boston bombers has revealed that he tried to turn her against the U.S. and beat her if she wore Western clothing.
Nadine Ascencao says that over the course of her relationship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, he was transformed from a fun-loving student into an Islamic extremist who shunned American life.
The 24-year-old lost her virginity to the Chechen immigrant and said she was besotted with him – but now she admits she had a ‘lucky escape’.
Ms Ascencao said: ‘One minute he’s this funny, normal guy who liked boxing and having fun, the next he is praying four times a day, watching Islamic videos and talking insane nonsense.
‘He became extremely religious and tried to brainwash me to follow Islam. Tamerlan said I couldn’t be with him unless I became a Muslim. He wanted me to hate America like he did.’
Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a stand-off with police four days after he and his brother Dzhokhar apparently set off two bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15.
Since the terror attack, which left three by-standers dead and more than 170 injured, the brothers’ interest in Islamic terror has been revealed.
Tsarnaev apparently stopped her from listening to pop music or watching television, and tried to control who she spent time with.
‘Tamerlan told me I should only talk to Muslim girls, not other “slutty” girls,’ Ms Ascencao said.
And when she wore Western clothing, he would fly into a rage and even attack her, she added.
‘He hated my tight trousers and made me wear long skirts,’ she said. ‘Towards the end I was wearing a hijab. He once ripped a pair of my jeans and hit me in the face with them.’
The pair’s relationship seems to have hit the rocks after Tsarnaev started seeing Katherine Russell after meeting her at a nightclub.
He would apparently play the two women off against each other, pitting them in competition to learn Islamic verses.
A police report from July 2009 indicated that he slapped Ms Ascencao during an argument at their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
She called 911 to complain, but although Tsarnaev was arrested and charged with assault the charges were dropped before trial.
The couple broke up later that year after three years together, and he went on to marry Ms Russell, who converted to Islam in order to be with him.
Ms Ascencao says she had no contact with her ex-boyfriend in the years before he launched his terror attack this month, but was questioned by the FBI over her links to the Islamic extremist.
‘When they said Tamerlan was dead, I didn’t cry,’ she said. ‘I was more shocked Dzhokhar was involved. He was a nice kid.’
Dzhokhar, 19, is currently in police custody in hospital after being injured in a shoot-out with police which led to his arrest hours after Tamerlan’s death on April 19.