Teenager convicted of planning Isle of Wight terror attack
A teenager from Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, has been convicted of terrorism offences.
The 16-year-old was charged with preparation of terrorist acts under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act on 17 July 2022 and on 4 November 2022, with three counts of dissemination of terrorist publications under Section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and having an article with a blade or point in a public place, contrary to Section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
The boy, who cannot be named or identified for legal reasons, was found guilty by a jury of all counts at Kingston Crown Court.
He was arrested on 11 July 2022 by Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) with assistance from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary.
When he was arrested, he was found with a knife in his possession and was planning to attack people he believed had insulted Islam.
He had also shared terrorist publications with others, the ideology of which was influenced by Daesh.
He is due to be sentenced on 15 April at Kingston Crown Court.
Head of CTPSE, Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright said: “Today is not a day for celebration. There can never be satisfaction when a child so young is convicted of such serious offences.
“Our primary objective is always to protect our communities from those who wish to do them harm.
“In this case, unfortunately we found someone who had been radicalised by Daesh propaganda into believing it was acceptable to hurt innocent people.
“CTPSE had to act quickly, with the help of our local police partners, to arrest and detain him. This was to protect the public and establish fully what his plans were.
“We hope he can get the help he needs to learn how wrong and dangerous these views are, and that he can become a functioning member of society in future.”
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary’s Area Commander for the Isle of Wight, Superintendent Rob Mitchell said: “This is a really tragic case of a young boy who found himself exploited by Daesh propaganda.
“The most vulnerable people in our communities across Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight are at the greatest risk of being drawn towards terrorist activity, and potentially causing harm to themselves and others.
“We have excellent working relationships and information sharing agreements with our partners that allow us to quickly identify those at risk and protect people from harm.
“Cases of this nature are, thankfully, relatively rare, but I do understand this investigation will have had a significant impact on the people of Cowes and the Isle of Wight.
“No-one is exempt from the risk of extremism and terrorism, but together Action Counters Terrorism and if you have any concerns that someone you know has been, or is being, radicalised, you can Act Early to get them the help they need and deserve”.