A 14-YEAR-OLD shared extreme right-wing and racist views and talked about carrying out a school shooting online before his sick communications were uncovered by police.

The teenager, from Darlington, was aged just 13 when he downloaded documents which detailed how to make explosives, with one titled the “Anarchist’s Cookbook”.

The Northern Echo:

The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, admitted three counts of possessing a terrorist publication at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in January.

He appeared before Newton Aycliffe Youth Court on Friday, where the UK’s Chief Magistrate, Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring sentenced him.

The judge heard how counter terror police were alerted after the boy posted on social media about blowing up an orphanage.

Jane Stansfield, prosecuting, said the boy was just 11 when he downloaded an image of Hitler onto his computer. An image was also uncovered of him performing a Nazi salute.

The court heard he wanted to go to a shooting range to train himself with a firearm and obtained items of military clothing as he developed a disturbed interest of right-wing extremism.

Jane Stansfield, prosecuting, said police searched his home and seized his computer, a hard drive and mobile phone, revealing a worrying history of interest in racist ideology, Nazism, carrying out a school shooting, the Holocaust and suicide.

Further online communications saw the teenager reveal a desire to shoot black people.

Stephen Andrews, defending, said: “You have before the courts a very complex young man showing signs of both extreme naivety and vulnerability at the same time as elements of sophistication in access to information one would not ordinarily associate with someone of his age.

“The availability and access of information is just so easily obtained. It’s distributed and regurgitated without really having a full level of understanding.

“He wants to be educated, he wants to improve himself and he wants to learn.”

The teen spoke to the judge before he was sentenced and admitted his extremist views had developed over time, saying: “I turned into something that was not good.”

The defendant, accompanied by his mother, said he will not reoffend, that he became interested in school shootings after looking at right-wing material and that he knew the difference between online bravado and reality.

Asked whether he still shares his previously held toxic views towards ethnic minorities, the boy replied: “It doesn’t matter what race you are, what religion, you are still the same person.”

Passing sentence, Judge Goldspring noted: “Just about every minority receives your vitriol and the terminology you used was concerning and abhorrent in equal measure.”

The judge said the boy had no formal autism diagnosis but displayed traits associated with the condition and had complex vulnerabilities and trauma in his past.

He ruled the boy, who hoped to go to university, was not “dangerous” in the legal sense and the best chance of rehabilitation came if he carried on his education.

The judge took into account his guilty pleas, that he had not offended since his arrest last year and that the only evidence of him plotting any attack was what he had told others.

He imposed a 12-month referral order for the three offences in which he must work with the Youth Offending Service.

After the case Detective Superintendent Matt Davison from Counter Terrorism Policing North East urged the public to report if they were worried about extremist views expressed by others.

He said: “We know it can seem like a big step to share your worries but in many cases the right support will come through education and health professionals and there isn’t a need for further police involvement.

“The key, however, is to report your concerns early so we can agree the appropriate support before the situation escalates into something more serious, or offences are committed.”

 

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Darlington Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054