Two teenagers plotted a Columbine-style massacre at their own school to murder teachers and pupils before killing themselves, a court has heard.
Matthew Swift, now 18, and his friend, Ross McKnight (16), both from Denton, Greater Manchester, were to bomb a shopping centre and then go on a killing spree at Audenshaw High School, a jury at Manchester Crown Court was told. Swift was an ex-pupil while McKnight, his friend, still attended the school.
Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, told the jury that Swift and McKnight had plotted the massacre, fantasised about the killing spree and agreed to carry out their plans — to copy the Columbine school atrocity.
“On Tuesday, April 20, 1999, over 10 years ago, two students named Eric Harris (18), and Dylan Klebold (17), |entered a high school in Columbine, |Colorado in the US,” Mr Wright told the jury. “Once at the school, they embarked upon a massacre of students and staff in which these two young men killed 12 students and a teacher.
“They also wounded 21 others before each of them committed suicide.
“These two young men had planned to copy and emulate the actions of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, in the UK.
“They had discussed, had fantasised and eventually they had agreed to convert their fantasises into reality.
“They set about planning to detonate a bomb, some form of improvised explosive device at a shopping centre in North Manchester, known as Crown Point North, and then travel to Audenshaw High School at which they had been or were indeed still pupils, and embark upon a killing spree in which they would murder teachers and pupils alike before killing themselves.”
Swift was an ex-pupil of the school and was, at the time of the alleged plot, working at an Ikea shop in Ashton-Under-Lyne. He was a “prolific writer”, Mr Wright said, putting his thoughts down for posterity.
“These documents were to be his epitaph,” the prosecutor added.
Both defendants plead not guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of conspiracy to cause explosions between November 11, 2007 and March 15 this year.