Ryan McGee, 20, of Mellor Street, Eccles, was sentenced at the Old Bailey after admitting making explosives and possessing terrorist literature
A ‘self-radicalised’ soldier who became an EDL fanatic while constructing a potentially lethal nail bomb in his bedroom has been jailed for two years.
Ryan McGee, 20, constructed a homemade bomb packed with 181 metal screws, bits of glass and explosives inside a pickle jar which could have killed or maimed if detonated.
The device sparked a bomb scare after police discovered it while searching his home on Mellor Street, Eccles, as part of an unconnected investigation in November last year.
Experts say the powerful bomb was just a ‘simple step’ from completion.
Officers also discovered an arsenal of guns and knives and extremist right-wing material in the first-floor bedroom, which was draped in English Defence League flags.
Crucially, bomb-making manual The Anarchist Cookbook was also found.
McGee admitted that between May 31 2013 and November 29 2013 at Salford he possessed a document containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
He has also pleaded guilty to a second charge that between September 1 2013 and September 3 2013 at Salford he made an explosive device.
Jailing him, Recorder of London Brian Barker said: “The fact of the matter is any explosive device in the wrong hands could cause untold misery to anyone on the receiving end.
“Sadly, we live in a violent age. Let’s be quite clear that any experimentation by anybody with these kinds of weapons must lead to severe sentences.
“What you have lost is your reputation and your future but I hope in due course you can make amends for that.”
Police originally raided the property as they suspected brother Steven, 20, of possessing child abuse images.
But following the discovery, Ryan – who was was serving in Paderborn, Germany, with 5th Battalion the Rifles – was detained at his barracks and returned to Britain.
Private McGee, a former Salford City Academy pupil, told officers he was ‘just experimenting’ with the ingredients but was charged and later admitted making explosives and possession of a document for terrorist purposes.
He joined the army in 2012 and had shown an interest in far-right parties such as the British National Party and the EDL since his early teens.
Disgusting racist rants posted on social media and kept in a handwritten diary revealed his hatred of immigration and admiration for Adolf Hitler and other far-right leaders.
In March 2013 he attended an EDL rally in Manchester city centre and regularly uploaded pictures of himself wearing or posing with EDL clothing and flags.
His computer also contained footage of a neo-Nazi beheading in eastern Europe.
The court heard McGee kept a journal entitled Ryan’s Story Book with stickers of Scooby Doo and birds on the front filled with drawings of guns, machetes, knuckledusters and knives and images of several paramilitary soldiers.
It also contained references to right-wing groups such as the National Front, KKK and BNP, the court heard.
He downloaded a number of extreme videos and his laptop had links to websites including gore videos, French Skinheads, Russian Racism, Handguns for sale UK and Germany, and YouTube videos of EDL marches against Muslims and Nazi youth.
The prosecutor accepted he was not a terrorist and that he didn’t intend to help a terrorist group.
Defending, Antony Chinn QC said McGee had been an immature teenager at the time, as demonstrated by the Scooby Doo notebook.
He said: “Although he accepts he made the device he never intended to put it to any violent purpose.”
McGee, a fifth generation Army man, was “a bit of a loner” who was brought up with far-right views, he said.
The bomb has been branded ‘viable’ by anti-terror officers and only needed to be hooked up to an electric current to become useable.
He had conducted internet searches on how to make detonators as well as experimenting with improvised booby traps.
Detectives did not find evidence McGee was planning a specific attack or had identified a target.
He remains a member of the armed forces but that is expected to be reviewed after his sentencing at the Old Bailey.
Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough, from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit described McGee as a ‘self-radicalised’ individual who developed an unhealthy infatuation with explosives.
He aid: “He was obsessed with guns and explosives and this had drawn him into the military.
“He was a self-radicalised individual who was in possession of some extremist right-wing material.
“What he had produced was a completely viable device. If it had been connected to a power source it would have been ready to go.
“By it’s very nature this device was extremely dangerous.
“It had the capability of causing very serious injury to people, which ultimately means that it had the capability to kill people.
“It’s very difficult to say how dangerous an item like that is. It clearly depends where it’s placed, the positioning of it and exactly how many people are around it.
“Human beings are very fragile things and this bomb had the potential to do a lot of damage.”