Teen guilty of right wing terrorism offences
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A 17-year-old boy from Rugby with extreme right views who offered to build weapons for individuals online has been found guilty of terrorism offences today (Friday 2 October).
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons due to his age, previously admitted nine counts of collecting terrorism information under section 58 of the Terrorism Act and today a jury at Birmingham Crown Court found the teen guilty of the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorism under section 5 of the Terrorism Act.
An initial trial began earlier this year but following a decision on March 24, the jury was discharged due to the Coronavirus restrictions and the retrial began on 1 September at Birmingham Crown Court.
The jury heard how the ex-Royal Air Cadet had become a member of the online extreme right wing group Feuerkrieg Division (FKD) in July 2019 and started several virtual conversations where he expressed his extreme views and indicated he was planning or had already converted a blank firing weapon into a viable firearm.
When our detectives seized his phone they found over 90 documents on firearms, explosives and military tactics, online material with an extreme right wing rhetoric as well as the online chat conversations.
Eleven clips of the New Zealand attacks in Christchurch mosques on 15 March 2019 were also found on his phone together with the shooting in El Paso, Texas on 3 August 2019 and the attacks at the Dayton and Garlic festival and the Anders Breivik attack in Norway.
A search of the teen’s bedroom - who declared his heroes as Adolf Hitler and James Mason - revealed several knives, air rifles, face coverings, camouflage face paint, shotgun cartridges and bullet casings, numerous tools and camping equipment as well as two makeshift cardboard targets.
A notebook was also seized containing swastikas, details of lone wolf attacks as well as a mocked up logo representing an extreme right group he wanted to form.
Following today’s verdict, the boy was remanded in custody until 6 November for sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court.
Head of West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit Detective Chief Superintendent Kenny Bell, said: “This boy had an unhealthy interest in other attacks across the world and he knew exactly what online platforms to join to share his extreme views.
“He believed he had the skills to convert a blank firing weapon into a viable firearm and was willing to help others with his abilities."
DCS Bell highlighted the commitment by counter terrorism policing to tackle all forms of extremist ideology.
"We have seen many convictions over the last few years in connection with extreme right wing terrorism and this work continues apace. These extreme groups have the potential to threaten public safety and security.
"We work tirelessly to counter terrorism. Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety and security of the people who live, work and visit the West Midlands area.
Every year thousands of reports from the public help police tackle the terrorist threat. If you see or hear something that doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts and ACT by reporting to police in confidence at gov.uk/ACT.
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