Man convicted of planning a terrorist attack
A 19-year-old man has been found guilty of preparing to carry out an act of terrorism.
A jury found Luke Skelton guilty of one offence under Section 5 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2006; engaging in conduct in preparation of a terrorist act, after a two-week trial at Teesside Crown Court. He will be sentenced on 19 June.
After an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing North East, supported by Northumbria Police, Skelton was charged in November 2021.
The court heard that Skelton openly supported and adopted an extreme right-wing ideology. He wrote about his plans to commit a terrorist act and also carried out hostile reconnaissance by researching and visiting potential targets.
Detective Chief Superintendent James Dunkerley, head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East said: “The defendant’s anger towards society, together with his extreme right-wing views, created a dangerous foundation from which his sinister plans were ultimately built. He was strongly motivated by this mindset, which continued to fuel his actions and his later offending, despite repeated attempts to draw him away from it.
“The evidence clearly demonstrated that he was not just a person who held strong views but a terrorist who wanted to cause serious harm.
“It is more important than ever that everyone plays their part in tackling terrorism. We have seen from this case that terrorists research and sometimes visit the places they plan to attack.
“Communities defeat terrorism, and information from the public is vital to counter terrorism investigations. I would urge everyone to stay vigilant. If you see or hear something unusual or suspicious and think someone may be engaging in terrorist activity, trust your instincts and act by reporting it in confidence at gov.uk/ACT. Always dial 999 or in an emergency.
“Your information might just help prevent an attack and save lives.”
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