Teenager guilty of six terrorism offences
A 16-year-old boy from Durham has been found guilty of six terrorism offences, following an intelligence led investigation in to Right Wing Terrorism by Counter Terrorism Policing North East.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be sentenced on January 7, 2020 after the Manchester Crown Court jury were unanimous in their verdict, finding the defendant guilty of: one offence of engaging in the preparation of an act of terrorism, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006; one offence of disseminating terrorist publications, contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006; one offence of possessing material for terrorist purposes, contrary to section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000; and three offences of collecting or possessing information useful in the preparation of an act of Terrorism, contrary to Section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000.
The teenager, who described himself as a neo Nazi, wrote of his pride as an alpha fascist youth member through numerous online platforms and shared his unhealthy appetite for extreme right wing material with others. He downloaded, read and shared an extensive amount of prohibited publications and literature, not only further developing and affirming his own disturbing views, but encouraging others to share the same.
Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: “Young people can be vulnerable to external influences, in the real world and online, which can shape their views and inform their actions. Where possible we would always seek to intervene, support and safeguard them from all forms of the powerful manipulation they can be exposed to. Unfortunately this option may not be available to us if their behaviour or actions have already gone too far. Public safety remains our priority and whenever there is a threat to our communities we will always take appropriate and necessary action.
“The extreme right wing views and hateful rhetoric displayed by this teenager are deeply concerning and we cannot account for those who may have been susceptible to his influence or how they may act in the future. His extensive repetitious internet searches, diary entries and escalating behaviour combined with his desire for notoriety highlight how dangerous he could have become had he not come to the attention of the authorities.
“Whilst no single target for an attack was identified the handwritten expression of his mind set combined with his aspiration to commit violence towards others cannot be underestimated and could not go unprosecuted. The influences our young people face today can be difficult to identify and control. We must all be alive to the risks our young people face and changes in attitude and behaviour which could indicate they have been drawn to the principles and ideologies held by others.
“We must all protect them from these toxic ideologies. By reporting concerns, we can offer early, proportionate intervention and direct them away from the contaminated and dominating views of those who seek to radicalise them.”