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Teenage neo-Nazi terrorist who planned arson spree given six years

The 17-year-old boy drafted his own manifesto which listed ‘Areas to Attack’ in Durham such as schools, pubs and council buildings.

A sketch which was shown to a jury at Manchester Crown Court (Counter Terrorism Police North East/PA)
A sketch which was shown to a jury at Manchester Crown Court (Counter Terrorism Police North East/PA)

By Kim Pilling, PA

A teenage neo-Nazi terrorist who identified possible targets in his home city has been locked up for six years and eight months.

The 17-year-old boy drafted his own manifesto which listed ‘Areas to Attack’ in Durham such as schools, pubs and council buildings.

He also wrote of planning to conduct an arson spree with Molotov cocktails on local synagogues.

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A handwritten note contained a to do list including an instruction to ‘shed empathy’ and a quote from Charles Manson (Counter Terrorism Police North East/PA)

Various handwritten documents were seized from his bedroom in March by police who also found a collection of far-right literature, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Analysis of his computer devices and mobile phone uncovered numerous internet searches on firearms, explosives and knives.

In November, jurors found him guilty of preparation of terrorist acts between October 2017 and March last year.

The youth was also unanimously found guilty of disseminating a terrorist publication, possessing an article for a purpose connected with terrorism and three counts of possessing a document or record containing information likely to be useful to a terrorist.

The defendant said he had no intention of carrying out any attacks and claimed he adopted a fake right-wing persona for “shock value”.

The Recorder of Manchester, Judge David Stockdale QC, imposed an extended licence period of five years after he ruled the defendant posed a significant risk to the public of serious harm by committing further offences.

The youth will also serve two thirds of his custodial term before the Parole Board can consider if he is safe to be released.

Judge Stockdale told him: “While your youth is a powerful mitigating factor it is also a feature of this case, which is perhaps most disturbing.

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The boy was found to be suffering from an autism spectrum disorder (Counter-Terrorism Police North East/PA)

“You are a highly intelligent, widely read, quick-thinking and articulate young man. Given the development of your intellect, the breadth of your reading and your obvious thirst for knowledge, it is a matter of infinite regret that you pursued at such a young age a twisted and – many would say – a sick ideological path.”

The court heard that medical experts for the prosecution and defence agreed the teenager was suffering from an autism spectrum disorder and the judge found his condition did play some part in his offending.

One report concluded the youngster did not need deradicalising and any risk he presents could be dealt with being taught coping mechanisms for his disability.

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged only 12 when he began searching material online about the Columbine High School shooting massacre in Colorado and also on terror executions by so-called Islamic State.

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The boy made a list of firearms to buy (Counter-Terrorism Police North East/PA)

He went on to become a follower of right-wing ideology and described himself online as a neo-Nazi before he came to the attention of police in 2017 for a number of homophobic and racist comments made from his Twitter account.

He told officers under caution that he only posted the tweets “for a laugh”.

The youngster initially agreed to take part in the Prevent counter-terror programme but later stopped attending. He continued searching for and downloading extremist far-right material online up until his arrest, the court heard.

Inspired by the terrorist manifestos of Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik and the “Unabomber”, Ted Kaczynski, the youth drafted one of his own entitled: “A Manual For Practical And Sensible Guerrilla Warfare Against The Kike System In The Durham City Area, Sieg Heil”.

In October 2018, he wrote: “In journal format I hope to record events from now all the way to the inevitable race war”, and by December 2018 he had joined an extreme right-wing website forum, said to be an online meeting ground for fascists who wrote about “direct actions”.

On the first day he accessed the forum, the defendant downloaded a manual which contained a viable recipe for the highly explosive chemical ammonium nitrate, and later posted on the site a publication which contained instructions on the making of homemade firearms, ammunition and silencers.

PA

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