Parents of terror offence teenager told ‘don’t blame yourselves’ by judge
The boy previously admitted booking a flight aiming to fight for a banned organisation in Syria.
A district judge has urged the parents of a teenager convicted of a terror offence: “Don’t blame yourselves” after the boy broke his bail conditions by getting “up to his old activities”.
Emma Arbuthnot, district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, made the comments during a youth court hearing after the 16-year-old suspect admitted illegally accessing the internet while awaiting sentence for another terror matter.
The boy, who cannot be identified because of his age, previously pleaded guilty to booking a one-way flight to Istanbul with the aim of fighting for a banned organisation in Syria.
He appeared before the district judge at the youth court on Monday where he admitted using the internet without adult supervision.
The court heard police believed the boy was posting inflammatory comments on the Telegram messaging service – he later told investigators he was “bored”.
Addressing the boy’s family as he was remanded in custody, Ms Arbuthnot said: “They must not blame themselves. Look at the time he’s been accessing (the internet) – they’ll have been asleep.
“This court trusted him, his parents trusted him, I thought we wrapped him up quite carefully.
“This young man was given conditional bail – he breached it … he’s been up to his old activities.
“But I have to protect the public and what he’s doing is grooming himself. I won’t have that on my watch.”
Defending, David Gottlieb said there were “flickers” that he would not offend again, his most recent internet use coming days before he pleaded guilty to the original terror offence in January.
He said the boy’s father “wasn’t able to keep an eye on (his son) 24/7” because he worked during the day.
Addressing the family – including the father, who appeared to rub his eyes as details of the bail breach were briefly read out in court – the district judge repeated: “Don’t blame yourselves, don’t blame yourselves.”
Prosecuting, Kristel Pous told the court how the youth was not allowed to access the internet without adult supervision, and unless it was for an educational purpose.
She said he was arrested at the weekend after police became suspicious, during which he admitted breaching the terms of his bail.
Ms Pous said: “He said that he had been bored and had been seeking information from a theological perspective.”
She said the teenager had yet to surrender the password to his Dell laptop, and that he was also being investigated for disseminating terrorist material.
The boy will be sentenced for both offences at Birmingham Youth Court on March 26.
He will also attend another administrative hearing at the same court on February 26.