Two schoolboys had their plans to blow up Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and a shopping centre thwarted when one of their mothers found materials to make a bomb in his room and alerted the police.
The two 16-year-olds from the north east, who were 15 at the time of the offences and cannot be identified for legal reasons, were sentenced last Friday in Newcastle Crown Court to 12 months in prison after admitting to conspiracy to make an explosive substance for unlawful purpose. Both were also handed a detention order.
According to the Independent, the court heard how the boys had discussed via Skype their plans to kill others in a bid to be remembered. Their conversations referenced Lee Rigby, who was killed by Islamic terrorists in London in 2013, and Raoul Moat, a 37-year-old who killed three people during a shooting spree in 2010 before shooting himself to death during a standoff with police.
Prosecutor Nick Dry told the court: “The conversation reveals that they were looking to sell drugs in order to fund the purchase of materials to make pipe bombs and a firearm.
“Potential targets discussed included a local public school, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and a random shopping centre.
“Escape plans were discussed along with potential suicide, both defendants stating that it was what they had wanted for a long time and agreeing to source the constituent parts of pipe bombs.
“[One defendant] was keen that he end his own life, suicide [was] his priority although [he was] happy to go along with [the other defendant’s] desire to kill others with a view to being remembered.
“Orders were placed for various chemicals with a view to making explosives.”
Using recipes found in The Anarchist Cookbook, the pair began collecting materials including fuses, chemicals and pipes required to make a number of potentially lethal devices. It was these that were found by the mother of one of the boys, prompting her to call the police who subsequently seized a number of chemicals.
He was later heard singing to himself on the way to the police station and muttering “no surrender”.
His lawyer told the court that his client had been suffering from mental problems at the time, saying: “Thanks to the actions of their parents, this offending was stopped in its tracks. Since they were sending ridiculous Skype messages and talking nonsense, they have calmed down and are looking to the future.”
But Dry told the court: “Their conversation was captured and revealed plans for a drug fuelled rampage, wherein they spoke of killing families in their own homes, referencing Lee Rigby and Raoul Moat and expressing their desire to spend their final days as wanted men.
“One was also keen to make a beheading video and not to be taken alive.
“Other material evinced a hatred of Jews and blacks.”
John Dilworth, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North East, said afterwards: “It is alarming to note that, at the point when their scheme was discovered, these two young men had already secured all of the materials required to construct a viable explosive device,” the Evening Standard has reported.
He continued: “Thankfully, the potentially tragic consequences of their plans were never realised.
“We are grateful to the actions of the defendants’ relatives, whose suspicions alerted police to the serious risk posed, not only to the public at large but also to the young defendants themselves.”
Follow Donna Rachel Edmunds on Twitter: Follow @Donna_R_E or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org