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A 16-YEAR-OLD Bradford boy has been warned that all sentencing options remain open after he was found guilty of making a potential bomb filled with shrapnel.

A jury was told by prosecutors how the teenager, who cannot be named, had researched bomb-making extensively and constructed a device that, with the addition of gunpowder and a fuse, could have been a “viable CO2 bomb” of the type used “to cause maximum harm and death to civilians”.

He will be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court next month after he was convicted on Thursday of one count of making an explosive substance and three counts of possession of a document likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

A jury of four women and eight men found the boy guilty of the offences after three days of deliberation but cleared him of the more serious offence of making an explosive substance with intent.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told the teenager: “I’m going to adjourn sentence for the preparation of reports and you’ll be brought back to court for sentence some time in the week beginning June 10.

“All sentencing options remain open.”

The jury was told that the teenager told fellow pupils he was going to “go on a rampage” and “kill many people” just weeks after making the device.

He had also told students a year previously that he was going to carry out a school shooting and had praised Adolf Hitler, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Prosecutors said the boy developed an interest in extremist far-right ideology and his searches on the internet became “progressively dark”, accessing videos and information about murder, torture and mutilation.

Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, said: “He actually constructed a device that, with the simple addition of gunpowder, such as might have been obtained from fireworks, and a basic fuse would have been a viable CO2 bomb.

“Furthermore, he had loaded that device with shrapnel, such as is commonly used by bomb-makers to cause maximum harm and death to civilians.”

The boy first came to the attention of police aged 13 and was referred to Prevent, the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, just a year later in 2017, the court heard.

In July 2018, Prevent received information that the boy had told fellow pupils he was going to go on a rampage, aiming to kill many people and then be shot by the police or kill himself, and this led to a search of his home in Bradford, where items were found including two carbon dioxide canisters joined together and an assortment of nails, tacks and panel pins.

The court heard that he searched for and watched videos about the English Defence League, attacks on Muslims, the Columbine High School massacre and murder and mutilation.

Giving evidence in his defence, the boy told the jury that he made extreme comments because he was showing off and “being stupid”.

He said that the device found in his bedroom was a fake bomb he had made to show off to his friends.

The teenager, who stood in the dock with three security guards and wearing a suit, showed no emotion when the jury foreman returned the verdicts and as he was taken down to the cells.

Telegraph & Argus

Unemployed ‘loner’ had photographed himself performing Nazi salutes and spewed bile about ‘degenerates’

Fletcher was convicted of planning a killing spree in Workington

Fletcher was convicted of planning a killing spree in Workington

A white supremacist who plotted a massacre in his Cumbrian hometown has been jailed for nine years.

Shane Fletcher, 21, claimed his plans to kill members of the public at a football match in Workington was merely a fantasy.

But Manchester Crown Court heard he had attempted to buy gas canisters for an explosive van attack, and compiled instructions on making pipe bombs and “improvised napalm”.

Fletcher wrote in a journal that on 4 April 2018 Workington would be obliterated – “everything and everyone will be destroyed. I will show no mercy killing you so called humans, I will be doing it with a smirk on my face.”

Judge Patrick Field QC jailed Fletcher, of Wastwater Avenue, Workington, to nine years for soliciting to murder, over trying to convince his only friend to commit the massacre with him.

Fletcher was also convicted of collecting information useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism.

He must serve at least two thirds of his custodial term and will be subject to an extended licence period of four years if the Parole Board considers him safe for release.

The self-described “loner” voiced his white supremacist beliefs and hatred for the people of Workington, who he blamed for school bullying and his inability to get a job, to a probation officer.

Fletcher was being monitored after a 32-month sentence for barricading himself inside a flat and setting it on fire after a row with his brother about his racist views.

He was referred to the government’s Prevent counter-extremism scheme nine months before he was arrested, after telling the officer he dreamed about “shooting up a mosque”, but refused to engage with the programme.

But he was not detained until March 2018, after he started detailing preparations for an attack at the “Uppies and Downies” – a three-stage football match held on the streets of Workington on and around Easter of each year.

Fletcher spoke of how easy it would be drive a van into people into the crowds and attempted to buy gas canisters, saying the only bar to his massacre was a lack of money and weapons.

A journal found under his sofa contained written instructions on how to make a pipe bomb and improvised napalm, while one entry read: “On the 4th April [2018] Workington will be oblitrated [sic], everything and everyone will be destroyed.”

Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford told the court that despite Fletcher’s extremist beliefs, his “motive was not terrorism but hatred and a desire for revenge”.

“In part, his hatred was borne of his racist belief that people who were Jewish and not white were responsible for his inability to find work and to make any kind of a meaningful life for himself,” he added.

“However, the main source of Fletcher’s hatred was that he had or felt that he had been bullied throughout his teen years and was looked down on and victimised by the people of Workington where he had grown up.

“This hatred was flamed by his own feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy and inability arising from his inability to find work or make any kind of meaningful life or relationships for himself.”

Fletcher’s mobile phone contained photos of him performing Nazi salutes and there were images of the Ku Klux Klan on his iPad.

In police interviews he described himself as a “big fan of Hitler”, after writing in a journal about his hatred of “degenerates” from different religious and ethnic groups, women and gay people.

The phone also contained images of the Columbine High School killers, who he idolised along with Cumbrian mass shooter Derrick Bird and Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof, lying dead on the ground.

He told his probation worker and police that he had started watching YouTube videos about serial killers and mass shootings since the age of 13 because he “had not gone out much”, and was excited by violence.

Lee Ingham, of the Crown Prosecution Service’s counterterrorism division, said: “Like the mass murderers he admired, Shane Fletcher wanted to achieve notoriety by committing a killing spree of his own.

“The court found this hate-consumed man to be a danger to the public and it is right he has been sentenced today to a lengthy spell in prison.”​

Fletcher unsuccessfully tried to recruit a friend to join him in the attack after they shared “snuff” videos of murders and mass shootings in Facebook messages.

In one, he told his friend that he had considered killing himself but then decided to go on a “massive killing spree” and the pair discussed methods and weapons, before his friend dropped out.

In his journal, Fletcher wrote about his self-loathing and called himself a “waste of space” and “failed human” who had let his mother down.

“I’m a freak basically have no friends have no job and have no future, been bullied most of my teen years,” he wrote. “I wanna end it all quick while taking others with me.”

Fletcher graphically detailed his desire to murder school bullies and make them “bow to my greatness and die”.

After being arrested, Fletcher denied he was planning a massacre and said his comments and writings were only fantasies from a “lonely attention seeker”. But prosecutors said his documented efforts to procure gas canisters proved his intentions were real.

In January last year, he wrote about efforts to buy or steal propane canisters for “bombs”, and had instructions to make viable pipe bombs and homemade napalm.

A diary entry written weeks before the planned atrocity read: “I have started this diary counting down the days to WM [Workington massacre] witch [sic] will be the most exciting day of my life I plan.”

Mr Ingham said: “Fletcher tried to claim his actions were nothing more than a foolish fantasy but the prosecution proved the instructions for the explosives contained in his diary were viable and could have caused catastrophic damage had they ever been acted upon.”

The Independent

Shane Fletcher wrote that the massacre would be the "most exciting day" of his life

Shane Fletcher wrote that the massacre would be the “most exciting day” of his life

A man has been convicted of plotting a mass murder in his home town.

Shane Fletcher planned to attack the annual Uppies and Downies football event in Workington, Cumbria, when thousands of people would be lining the streets.

Manchester Crown Court heard the 21-year-old had bomb-making manuals and tried to solicit a friend to take part.

He will be sentenced on 14 March once a psychiatric report has been prepared.

The court was told he wanted to emulate Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who murdered 12 students and one teacher at their school in Columbine, Colorado, in 1999 before killing themselves.

Fletcher had spoken of his hatred of Workington and of getting a van and “ploughing down” people in revenge for years of being bullied.

He was arrested at his Wastwater Avenue home on 10 March, days after his probation officer contacted police.

The officer warned them Fletcher had said the only things preventing him from carrying out mass murder were a lack of cash and access to weapons.

Officers found a diary under his sofa which contained written instructions on how to make a bomb and improvised napalm, along with his mobile phone which contained an image of the Columbine killers lying dead on the ground.

Numerous diary entries highlighted his anger, with one which read: “On the 4th April Workington will be oblitrated (sic), everything and everyone will be destroyed.

“I will show no mercy killing you so called humans I will be doing it with a smirk on my face.”

Facebook messages were recovered which showed Fletcher attempting to persuade his “only friend”, Kyle Dixon, to take part in the attack.

Fletcher did not give evidence in his defence but his barrister, Simon Csoka QC, said he was a lonely attention-seeker who was fully aware his comments to his probation officer would be passed to police.

He argued the Facebook chats with Mr Dixon were “stupid and idiotic” conversations between two young men which were “a world away from these fanciful theories about the Columbine massacre”.

He had been seeing the Probation Service since April 2017 following his release on licence from a jail sentence.

The jury found him guilty of one count of soliciting to murder and two counts of collecting or making a record of information useful for terrorism purposes.

BBC News

Contents of a rucksack found by officers searching the older boy’s hideout in Catterick Garrison. Picture: NORTH EAST CTU

Contents of a rucksack found by officers searching the older boy’s hideout in Catterick Garrison. Picture: NORTH EAST CTU


THE two schoolboys given substantial custodial sentences for plotting a Columbine-inspired attack at a school in Northallerton can be named as Thomas Wyllie and Alex Bolland.

Reporting restrictions were lifted at Leeds Crown Court after the boys were sentenced.

Wyllie was given 12 years custody, while Bolland received ten years.

The boys, who were 14 when they put together the plot, sat motionless in the dock as they were told the lengths of their sentences.

During their trial, prosecutors claimed that the pair had “hero-worshipped” Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the teenagers responsible for murdering 13 people at Columbine High School, Colorado, in 1999.

In the police interviews that followed their arrests in October 2017, both boys attempted to claim that the plan was nothing more than a fantasy, but in May jurors at Leeds Crown Court convicted them of conspiracy to murder.

The judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, told the pair that their plan “was not wishful thinking or fantasy, it was a real plot”.

She said: “You are both 15-years-old and you were only 14 last year when you planned to murder teachers and pupils at your school in North Yorkshire by shooting them in a re-enactment of the Columbine massacre.

The judge added that it was a “firm plan with specific targets in mind as well as a plan to make indiscriminate explosives”.

She concluded her remarks by saying that the boys had intended to cause “terror on the scale of the school shootings that have been seen in America”.

The judge lifted the reporting restriction on naming the two teenagers after representations from the media.

Both the prosecution and the defence argued the restriction should remain on the basis that naming the boys would harm their rehabilitation.

But the judge said the need for open justice outweighed this consideration.

She said the restriction would remain banning the identification of any other witness under the age of 18 and also on naming the school involved.
Northern Echo

TWO teenage boys have been convicted of conspiracy to murder at Leeds Crown Court after plotting a Columbine-inspired shooting at their school.

The teenagers, both 15, sat motionless alongside their tearful mothers as the verdicts were read to them on Thursday.

The older boy, wearing a shirt, was also convicted of unlawful wounding, but cleared of a count of aggravated burglary.

A balaclava belonging to one of the boys Picture: North East Counter Terrorism Unit

A balaclava belonging to one of the boys Picture: North East Counter Terrorism Unit

During the three-week trial, prosecutors claimed that the pair “hero-worshipped” Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the teenagers responsible for murdering 13 people at Columbine High School, Colorado, in 1999.

The judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, told the pair they will be sentenced at a later date when she has considered reports about them both.

She told the jury: “Nobody will be in any doubt as to the gravity of their conduct and the plans they have made.”

The chilling diary entry by the older teenager

The chilling diary entry by the older teenager

She said it was an “unusual case” but told the jury the “welfare of young people” was the primary concern of the sentencing system.

During the three-week trial, jurors heard how the boys had prepared a “hit list” of people they wanted to kill, including fellow students and teachers who had supposedly bullied or wronged them.

Analysis of their devices showed that they had researched weapons online and had both downloaded a bomb-making manual.

The older defendant, described as the “leader” of the pair, had supposedly “idolised” Eric Harris, who took up arms with fellow teenager Dylan Klebold and carried out a massacre at Columbine High School, Colorado, killing themselves and 13 others.

The same boy was later found to have kept a diary in which he espoused what prosecutors described as a “far-right wing ideology” and discussed his motivations for wanting to carry out an attack.

The pair were questioned by police officers when, in September 2017, the younger boy told a schoolgirl via Snapchat that they were planning to carry out a shooting.

When she asked if he was joking, he responded: “No. No one innocent will die. We promise.”

The next day, he made what the prosecution described as “clear and unvarnished” confessions, firstly to a teacher, and then to police officers.

During his evidence, the teacher told the court that the boy had said that his targets were “infecting the gene pool” and that he and his friend were performing a “service to society”.

The older boy’s girlfriend claimed that, shortly after that incident, he spoke of a plan to murder her parents and run away together, so that he could become a “natural born killer”.

The schoolgirl, who started dating the boy in June 2017, claimed he described her as “his Dylan Klebold” and encouraged her to give him access to her father’s shotguns.

A chat between the teenagers in which they discuss plans to 'shoot up the school'

A chat between the teenagers in which they discuss plans to ‘shoot up the school’

The teenager, described as “devious” and “primitive” by the girl’s mother, was cleared of one count of aggravated burglary.

He was convicted of unlawful wounding, after carving his name into his then-girlfriend’s lower back.

Officers searched the boy’s “hideout”, where they discovered a rucksack filled with screws, boards, and a flammable liquid which, prosecutors suggested were instruments with which to build an explosive device.

The pair will be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court at a later date.

Counter Terrorism Policing North East (North East CTU) claimed that both the boys had a “very real interest in violence”.

In a statement, Detective Superintendent Martin Snowden, the head of the North East CTU, said they were “very grateful” to North Yorkshire Police for their assistance during the investigation.

“There is no understating the severity of these offences and the potential implications had their plans not come to the attention of the authorities,” Mr Snowden said.

He added: “These boys demonstrated a very real interest in violence and had both expressed a desire to act out their fascinations.

“Disturbingly, they had gone beyond the fantasy and had begun to take very real steps towards making it a reality.”

Superintendent Allan Harder, head of safeguarding at North Yorkshire Police, said: “We want to reassure the school community and the wider public that the health and well-being of young people and their families will remain at the top of our agenda.”

Northern Echo

HALIFAX — She sat motionless in the wood-panelled, windowless courtroom as the judge delivered the sentence: Life in prison with no chance of parole for a decade.

Lindsay Souvannarath was then led away by sheriffs, returned to the jail cells that have been her home since 2015.

It’s been three years since the Chicago-area woman was arrested at the Halifax airport with a “death suit” and books on serial killers in her luggage.

She was planning a Valentine’s Day shooting rampage, a plot concocted online with a Halifax teen that would have seen them open fire at the Halifax Shopping Centre food court on a busy Saturday in February 2015.

The 26-year-old American pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder only after thousands of damning Facebook messages between the conspirators were deemed admissible as evidence in the case.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski told the court Friday that Souvannarath continues to pose a threat to public safety.

The judge said she has not expressed remorse for her murderous plot, nor has she renounced her ideological motivations for the conspiracy.

In his decision, he called her prospects for rehabilitation “very questionable” and said she needs to be separated from society until safety concerns can be addressed.

Rosinski said he is satisfied that had the plot not been interrupted by an anonymous tip and the quick actions of local police, the plan would have been carried out.

“Coming upon unsuspecting members of the public at the mall that day, what carnage would they have inflicted with a 16-gauge shotgun with 23 shells; a .308 calibre lever-action rifle with 13 shells; and a knife to finish off the wounded?”

The judge added: “Ms. Souvannarath’s intention was to kill more than the 13 people who suffered that fate at the Columbine High School shooting,” he wrote, referring to her obsession with the massacre in Littleton, Colo.

Her co-conspirator, 19-year-old James Gamble, killed himself as police surrounded his Halifax-area home.

Kate Battan, the lead investigator of the 1999 shooting who wrote a report highlighting parallels between the school shooting and the mall plot, called it “ironic” that Friday’s sentencing took place on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

She spent a month combing through the private online messages between Souvannarath and Gamble and their plans to mount an attack at a Halifax mall.

“My impression is that they were all in and this was not a joke,” she said in an interview. “At some point this became real, this was going to happen.”

The judge shared that view, telling the court that the “plan had been set in motion” once Souvannarath boarded a plane for Halifax.

The spectre of shooters opening fire in a busy mall threatened thousands of shoppers and workers and unsettled the city for months.

Rosinski cited the explicit intention to create mass panic and undermine the community’s sense of security as an aggravating factor in the sentencing.

“They intended to maximize dead and wounded casualties,” the judge wrote in his 32-page decision.

“That they intended to be mocking, callous and brutal in their treatment of potential victims they encountered is an aggravating factor.”

He said his sentencing was in part shaped by the principles that apply to terrorism offences and is intended to “send a clear message” to those conspiring to kill multiple people.

“Those who choose to pursue such deadly plans will pay a very heavy price,” Rosinski wrote.

Crown attorney Mark Heerema said the sentence serves as a deterrent for similar crimes.

“The court was unequivocal that this kind of conduct here in Canada by an offender who is not claiming to be remorseful or renouncing will never be accepted,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.

The woman from Geneva, a quiet suburb of Chicago, has been ordered to provide a sample of her DNA and will be subjected to a firearms prohibition for 10 years after her release from prison. He gave her credit for three years served in custody, so she will be eligible for parole in seven years.

Although the judge has recommended intensive psychological and psychiatric counselling and treatment, the sentence of life in prison means the 26-year-old could spend the rest of her days behind bars.

A third accomplice — a local man described in court as the “cheerleader” of the plot — was previously sentenced to a decade in jail.

At the sentencing hearing earlier in the week, Rosinski asked Souvannarath if she would like to address the court. She said: “I decline.”

Before delivering his decision Friday, the judge entered letters from Souvannarath’s parents and grandparents as exhibits in the case.

The parents of both Souvannarath and Gamble were in court for the sentencing hearing, but declined to be interviewed.

Souvannarath has been held at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional facility in a Halifax-area industrial park since her arrest. Her lawyer has said she will likely be transferred to a women’s institution in southern Ontario after sentencing.

The judge noted that the college graduate has been called a quiet prisoner who keeps to herself, participates in Books behind Bars, and was enrolled in a humanities course offered by Dalhousie University.

CTV News