Teenager Liam Lyburd found guilty of college massacre plot
A teenager has been convicted of planning a massacre at his former college after he amassed a fearsome arsenal of weapons.
Police found a "kill bag", pipe bombs Liam Lyburd had made and a Glock semi-automatic handgun and 94 expanding bullets he had bought on the internet when they raided the 19-year-old's home in Newcastle in November.
Lyburd had admitted nine charges relating to making five pipe bombs, two home-made explosive devices, possessing a 9mm Luger Calibre Glock gun, the hollow-point ammunition and CS gas.
A jury convicted him of eight charges of possessing those items with an intent to endanger life at Newcastle College following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
Lyburd had denied all eight charges.
Police were alerted by a concerned member of the public about posts Lyburd made, in the name Felix Burns, talking about launching a murderous attack.
They were led to the bedroom which he had rarely left for months and found the cache of weapons, the bag containing his sinister overalls, mask, boots and pipe bombs, and incriminating evidence on his laptop.
A computer specialist recovered a deleted file from his computer in which he wrote about getting vengeance on the college which had kicked him out two years before.
It said: "You people ruined my whole life, don't expect me to show mercy today. No-one disrespects me and gets away with it.
"I'll teach you people a little lesson on respect with my 9mm jacketed hollow points.
"It's time for extreme civil disobedience.
"Fantasy will become reality today for sure. Where the mind goes the body will follow and, yes, people will die, there's no question about that."
As Lyburd was taken away by police, he laughed and told officers they had saved lives, preventing what would have otherwise been a massacre at the college.
They found webcam pictures he took of himself dressed for combat, armed with a Glock and brandishing a knife.
He was to tell the jury the pictures were part of a plot to draw attention to himself online and to get a reaction as he was lonely.
Dressing up in the outfit was just like other people having Halloween costumes, he claimed, and he had no intention of shooting anyone.
But Nick Dry, prosecuting, told the court that this was no fantasy, and there was every intent to endanger life with the chilling weaponry he had amassed.
Lyburd, who would smirk inappropriately during the trial, boasted that buying the Glock online was not a "big deal" and "like buying a bar of chocolate".
The trial exposed to a wider audience some of the murky, hidden world of the dark web, where illicit trading can go hidden from the authorities.
Lyburd bought Glock parts and ammunition on a website using an assumed name and had them delivered to his front door from around the world.
He was obsessed with shootings, killing sprees and guns, the jury was told. But he was not mentally ill.
Lyburd gestured with his fingers to his own head as if he was shooting himself as he was taken away from court.
The defendant had stared intently at the jury foreman as all eight unanimous verdicts were announced.
He sat in the dock listening intently with his hand on his chin.
Judge Paul Sloan QC will sentence him on September 25, after a psychiatric report has been prepared.
He told Lyburd: "You will appreciate that only a very substantial sentence in custody is appropriate in the circumstances of this case."
A spokesman for Newcastle College said: "The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority and we would like to thank Northumbria Police, who we worked closely with throughout the incident."