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Teenage girl arrested with Anzac parade plot schoolboy admits terror charges

Published 26/08/2015

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will appear before Manchester magistrates
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will appear before Manchester magistrates

A schoolgirl arrested with a teenage boy involved in a plot to attack police at an Anzac Day parade in Australia has admitted two terror offences.

The 16-year-old from Manchester, who cannot be named because of her age, used her school computers to look up Islamic State (IS) killer Jihadi John.

She was detained by anti-terror police in April along with Britain's youngest convicted Islamic terrorist, a boy of 14 from Blackburn, Lancashire, who has already admitted encouraging an IS-inspired terror attack on officers at the annual Anzac parade. He pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey last month to inciting terrorism abroad.

Phone data retrieved by police showed the pair exchanged more than 2,000 WhatsApp messages a day before they were arrested.

And the girl used her school's IT system to search for information on Jihadi John, terror group IS and images of Michael Adebolajo, the killer of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich in 2013.

Neither of the teenagers can be named because of their age.

The girl, who has no previous convictions or cautions, today pleaded guilty two offences under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Wearing a headscarf and striped cardigan, she was excused from sitting in the dock at the Youth Court at Manchester Magistrates' Court and instead sat on a bench in front of the judge, flanked by her mother, an uncle and her solicitor.

The girl spoke only to confirm her name and age and pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of documents on or before April 3 likely to be of use to anyone preparing or committing an act of terrorism. One was a recipe for explosives .

No evidence was found that she was aware or played any part in the Anzac Day plot or any plan to harm others or incite terrorism in the UK or elsewhere, the court heard.

She was granted bail by District Judge Khalid Qureshi, who agreed to adjust her bail condition of reporting to police to allow her to attend college.

The girl's bail conditions include a 9pm to 7am curfew, reporting to police three times a week, a ban on applying for travel documents or a passport and a ban on travelling outside England and Wales.

She will be seen by a youth offending team and a psychologist before she is sentenced on October 15.

Judge Qureshi warned her that because of the law, his sentencing options would include immediate custody, adding: "The youth offending team will want to interview you and your family.

"It is very much in your interests you are open and honest with them about what's happened, if you are able to tell them why you got involved in what you got involved in.

"I will be asking you some questions directly about your conduct, your behaviour, why you think it has happened. I need to try to understand why this happened."

She was first held by police in April following an investigation by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit which also led to the arrest of the 14-year-old boy.

During the investigation it was established that he and the girl had been communicating with each other and during an eight-day period from March 18 to March 25 this year 16,260 Whatsapp messages were exchanged between them.

She was arrested on April 3, her home was searched and her Blackberry phone and a sketch pad were seized.

The girl told police the writing in her sketch pad was related to school work and a chemical recipe in the pad was in response to a Blue Peter children's TV programme on fireworks.

Analysis of the Blackberry found instructions for producing a timed circuit, a document about DIY bomb-making and the Anarchist Cookbook 2000.

The girl also had publications by terror group Islamic State, images of guns, knives and grenades, and photos of jihadi terror 'heroes' including Anwar al-Awlaki, IS leader Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Osama Bin Laden.

Images of IS symbols and flags and quotes including "I love that I should be killed in the way of Allah" and "Only Jihad No Democracy" were also found.

And photos of a dead child, an execution and people about to be beheaded were recovered.

Files from her school's IT network contained searches for the Taliban, Islamic State, Jihadi John, balaclavas and searches for images of Michael Adebolajo.

Another image of a female child carried the words: "I will be the one who slaughters you o kuffar, I will be a mujahid."

The 14-year-old arrested in the same police investigation pleaded guilty last month to encouraging the Anzac Day parade plot.

Over a 10-day period, the youngster sent thousands of instant messages to 18-year-old Australian Sevdet Besim, who shared his admiration for the IS terror group.

The boy faces sentencing at Manchester Crown Court on September 3 and is being held in an unidentified youth detention centre in the north west of England.

Among the messages the boy sent to Besim was one which read: "Suggest you break into someone's house and get your first taste of beheading."

Besim, who is awaiting trial in Australia, replied that that seemed "a little risky".

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