Derbyshire boy set up racist group after spending ‘a lot of time online’

A boy set up an extremist right-wing group after spending a “concerning amount of time online” during the first Covid-19 lockdown, a court has heard.

The 15-year-old, from south Derbyshire, ran an openly racist channel on an encrypted app from August last year.

He admitted terrorism offences, alongside a 16-year-old boy from Kent, at an earlier hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in June.

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring adjourned sentencing until 9 September.

On Monday, the boy, 15, told the court: “I spent a lot of time in my bedroom doing nothing. I think I need to be a normal child again.”

In June, the 15-year-old admitted disseminating a terrorist publication called the Anarchy Cookbook Version 2000, disseminating a terrorist publication, and encouraging terrorism, in August and September last year.

The 16-year-old admitted disseminating a terrorist publication called the White Resistance Manual by sending an electronic link in August which allowed others to access it.

During the sentencing hearing, the court heard how the 15-year-old boy downloaded a video of the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand, where gunman Brenton Tarrant shot and killed 51 people.

He also saved an image of a “leader board” of right-wing terrorists, including the number of people they had killed.

The boy also wrote about planning an “attack on the Dover coast”, where he claimed “every Muslim and refugee has been given safe[t]y”.

The 15-year-old received a caution in September 2019 for sending pictures of bombs to a fellow school pupil over Snapchat.

‘Dark rabbit hole’

He also has previous convictions for hate crimes, after threatening to blow up a mosque in January 2020, and headbutting a police officer who came to his home.

Mark Luckett, defending, said the boy had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and added: “It is clear at some point he had been manipulated.

“The offences occurred during the first national lockdown.

“[He] appears to have spent a concerning amount of time online during which has unfortunately led him down a very dark rabbit hole.”

Addressing the magistrate the boy, who said he intends to go to university to study veterinary medicine or zoology, said: “I don’t hold those views and I don’t know how I got to hold those views.

“That’s not the person I am.”

The 16-year-old said: “I’m really sorry. I will never touch that aspect of belief in my life and I will stop anyone I can from even trying to touch it.”

Mr Goldspring remanded the 15-year-old into youth custody and granted the older boy conditional bail.

BBC News

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