Gloucestershire teen sentenced for far-right terrorism offences

A Gloucestershire teenager who downloaded manuals on how to make bombs has been sentenced to a 12-month referral order.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was sentenced at at Bristol Youth Court on Thursday.

He was arrested by counter-terrorism police in December 2019.

Officers searched his family home in Gloucestershire and discovered far-right symbols, such as swastikas and phrases referring to neo-Nazism, scratched into a desk in his bedroom.

They found 11 documents on his mobile phone, including detailed guides on how to kill someone, how to make poisons and how to build explosive devices.

There were also extreme right-wing ideological documents, such as information on a predicted race war and the collapse of society, Satanic Neo-Nazi practices and graphic portrayals of violence.

Gloucestershire Police said the boy’s electronic devices also contained images of him performing Nazi salutes, making White Power signs, posing with imitation firearms and memes of mass killers such as Anders Breivik.

The boy admitted 11 counts of collecting material of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring, chief magistrate for England and Wales, sentenced the teenager to a 12-month referral order, which included a programme of rehabilitation.

The judge said he had decided the boy did not pose a significant risk of serious harm to the public and therefore did not deem him “dangerous”.

He told the teenager that he had to fully comply with the terms of the referral order, which include a programme of rehabilitation and a number of strict conditions, as well as monitoring.

“It is very important that you take this opportunity to pause and think,” the judge told the boy.

“I do not like saying to young people that I will send you into custody if I see you again, but I have to be honest with you – there will be almost no way out if I see you in court again.”

The court heard that all of the offences, apart from one, had taken place when the boy was aged 15.

Prosecuting, Kelly Brocklehurst told the court the boy had an interest in an “extreme form of Neo-Nazism” and shared such views on social media platforms.

In police interviews, the boy said he had not looked at some of the documents found on his devices and told officers they may have appeared through a “bulk download”, Mr Brocklehurst said.

The boy claimed he was interested in psychology and wanted to write about extremism, as well as helping to prevent children from becoming radicalised.

He did not distribute any of the documents he downloaded, the court heard.

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