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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