Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Welsh teenager found guilty of five terror offences


BIRMINGHAM: A teenager accused of preparing to carry out an Isis-inspired terror attack in Cardiff has been found guilty of five terror offences.

The 17-year-old was convicted of encouraging terrorism online and possessing a record of terrorist information.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court also convicted the 17-year-old of preparing for a terrorist act before his arrest in June.

A nine-day trial has heard claims the youth, from Rhondda Cynon Taf , engaged in “attack planning” on the internet and wrote a “martyrdom letter” threatening to strike out at non-believers.

The youth, who cannot be named because of his age, told police he took a knife and a hammer to his school on the day of his arrest.

But the schoolboy said he had no thoughts of using either weapon while at school and no plans to launch any kind of attack.

After the unanimous verdicts were returned by the jury foreman, the panel was given a majority direction on the remaining count of planning an Isis-inspired terror attack by the trial judge.

Judge Mark Wall QC told the jury: “I would urge you to continue to try to reach a unanimous verdict if you can. I repeat to you that you are under no pressure of time.”

The guilty verdicts on two counts of possessing a record of terrorist information relate to Isis propaganda material, including instructions on how to carry out a knife attack found on a computer.

Jurors unanimously convicted the teenager, from Rhondda Cynon Taf, of two counts of encouraging terrorism by posting extremist material on Instagram, and two charges of possessing Isis propaganda magazines.

The panel deliberated for four hours and 19 minutes before also convicting the boy by an 11-1 majority verdict of preparing for terrorist acts.

The youth, of a white British background, was arrested at his home by police on June 30 – several hours before Bieber took to the stage at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

At the start of the boy’s trial it emerged that he had written a note apparently aimed for distribution after his death reading: “I am a soldier of the Islamic State and I have attacked Cardiff today because your government keep on bombing targets in Syria and Iraq.

“There will be more attacks in the future.”

The note – found with the gutting knife and claw hammer – also featured bullet points including “run down the non-believers with a car” and “strike the infidels, who oppose Allah, in the neck”.

Opening the case against the boy at the start of the trial, prosecutor Matthew Brook told the jury of seven men and five women: “In this case, the evidence will prove that he became radicalised over the internet.

“He had terrorist material stored on his computer, he published posts on Instagram which encouraged terrorism and he was planning a ‘lone wolf’ style attack in the name of Islam.”

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