Banff man Connor Ward convicted of planning terrorism attacks

A 25-year-old man from Banff has been convicted of planning terrorism attacks.

Connor Ward had denied breaching the Terrorism Act, and faced trial at the High Court in Edinburgh charged with conduct which showed his intention to commit acts of terrorism.

The jury heard he acquired components for potential bombs and kept a list of Scottish mosque addresses.

Sentence was deferred after the verdict following a five-week trial.

Ward, a former psychiatric patient, claimed he was suffering from mental illness at the time he downloaded the documents.

He was previously jailed for three years in 2012 after admitting explosives charges in connection with an incident which saw people evacuated from their homes.

‘Suffer your demise’

Judge Lord Burns adjourned sentence on Ward to the High Court in Glasgow on 11 April to obtain reports on his character.

Ward acquired hundreds of ball bearings which could be used in pipe bombs and rocket tubes which could be used to fire projectiles.

Police discovered that Ward had downloaded tens of thousands of documents from the internet on firearms and survival techniques.

The files also contained extreme right wing propaganda and military tactics.

The court heard Ward had written a dedication in a book which read: “This book is dedicated to all that follow Mohammed and the Islamic faith.

‘Serious harm’

Defence advocate Drew McKenzie told the court that he would reserve his mitigation until the sentencing hearing.

After the case, Det Ch Supt Gerry Mclean, of Police Scotland’s organised crime and counter terrorism unit, said: “Following Ward’s arrest, a vast amount of material was seized by officers who invested a significant amount of time into quantifying the scale of Ward’s interest in terrorism.

“Although he operated alone, the weapons, manuals and downloads he possessed had the potential to cause serious harm.

“While we may never know the full extent of Ward’s intentions, thanks to the early intervention of police we do know that we cannot underestimate the dangerous nature of any behaviour or activity linked to terrorism.”

BBC News

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