Durham Teenager Sentenced For Terrorism Offences | Counter Terrorism Policing

Durham Teenager Sentenced For Terrorism Offences

A 17-year old boy from Durham (who cannot be named for legal reasons) has been sentenced at Manchester Crown Court today (Tuesday January 7, 2020) after being found guilty of planning a terror attack.

The teenager has been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison.

He was unanimously found guilty of six terror offences, including engaging in the preparation of act of terrorism in November 2019. The teenager was arrested in March 2019 following an intelligence led investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing North East in to Right Wing Terrorism.

Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden is head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East. He said:

“This has been a protracted and challenging investigation not least due to the age of the subject. The decision to investigate, arrest and prosecute a young person is never an easy one; however we will always take necessary and proportionate action to keep our communities safe.

“Cases such as this highlight the dangers our young people face today online. The negative influence and powerful manipulation that takes place by those who seek to radicalise them cannot be underestimated.

“Prevention is always better than cure, and we would always seek to reach out and engage with people before they are drawn down the path to criminal activity.

“Protecting our young people is not something police can do alone. We all have a part to play in keeping vulnerable teenagers safe from a potentially dangerous path to radicalisation.

“We want to empower all communities to speak out and counter poisonous, hateful narrative to help keep our children and those who are vulnerable safe.

“We need to know and understand what content our young people are reading and engaging with to help to protect them from hate and toxic rhetoric and ideologies. Recognising changes in attitude and behaviour which could indicate they have been drawn to the principles and ideologies held by others, and seeking support and advice from professionals could save a young person from a potentially destructive path.

“If concerns about someone’s behaviour are raised early, we can, along with our strategic partners look to offer bespoke, appropriate support to help safeguard that individual.

“Anyone worried about someone they know can make a referral in the confidence that it will be assessed and where deemed appropriate, support offered.

“We cannot escape the use of technology in our modern lives, but we must be aware of the dangers that can surround children and young people when they explore the online world.

“Prevent is the most important strategy we have to safeguard young people from radicalisation and it is always better reaching people before they’re drawn into criminal activity.

“Unfortunately, there are those who elect not to engage and refuse the support that is offered. In these cases, or where their behaviour has already gone too far, intervention may no longer be an option and we will take robust action.”

Every year thousands of reports from the public help police tackle the terrorist threat. If you see or hear something that doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts and ACT by reporting to police in confidence at gov.uk/ACT.   

Reporting won’t ruin lives, but it could save them. Action Counters Terrorism.

Remember, in an emergency, always dial 999.

November 20, 2019

A 16-year-old boy from Durham has been found guilty of six terrorism offences today, November 20, 2019.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested in March 2019 as part of an intelligence led investigation in to Right Wing Terrorism by Counter Terrorism Policing North East. He will be sentenced on January 7, 2020.

The jury at Manchester Crown Court were unanimous in their verdict, finding the defendant guilty of:

  • One offence of engaging in the preparation of an act of terrorism, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
  • One offence of disseminating terrorist publications, contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006
  • One offence of possessing material for terrorist purposes, contrary to section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
  • Three offences of collecting or possessing information useful in the preparation of an act of Terrorism, contrary to Section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000

The teenager, who described himself as a neo Nazi, wrote of his pride as an alpha fascist youth member through numerous online platforms and shared his unhealthy appetite for extreme right wing material with others.

He downloaded, read and shared an extensive amount of prohibited publications and literature, not only further developing and affirming his own disturbing views, but encouraging others to share the same.

His prolonged, sustained searches of race-hate material and ‘lone actor’ attacks sought out detail of some of the most shocking and atrocious mass killings from the US and Europe in recent times.

Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden is Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East. He said;

“Young people can be vulnerable to external influences, in the real world and online, which can shape their views and inform their actions. Where possible we would always seek to intervene, support and safeguard them from all forms of the powerful manipulation they can be exposed to.  Unfortunately this option may not be available to us if their behaviour or actions have already gone too far. Public safety remains our priority and whenever there is a threat to our communities we will always take appropriate and necessary action.

“The extreme right wing views and hateful rhetoric displayed by this teenager are deeply concerning and we cannot account for those who may have been susceptible to his influence or how they may act in the future.

“His extensive repetitious internet searches, diary entries and escalating behaviour combined with his desire for notoriety highlight how dangerous he could have become had he not come to the attention of the authorities.

“Whilst no single target for an attack was identified the handwritten expression of his mind set combined with his aspiration to commit violence towards others cannot be underestimated and could not go unprosecuted.

“The influences our young people face today can be difficult to identify and control. We must all be alive to the risks our young people face and changes in attitude and behaviour which could indicate they have been drawn to the principles and ideologies held by others.

“We must all protect them from these toxic ideologies. By reporting concerns, we can offer early, proportionate intervention and direct them away from the contaminated and dominating views of those who seek to radicalise them.

“Communities defeat terrorism. If you have any information about suspicious activity, in your community or online, or concerns for someone you know ACT and call in confidence on 0800 789 321 or make a report via www.gov.uk/ACT.”