Information from the public results in teenager being jailed for terrorism offence | Counter Terrorism Policing

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Information from the public results in teenager being jailed for terrorism offence

A teenager who was planning to commit a terrorist attack in London before being arrested by counter terrorism officers has been given a discretionary life sentence

Matthew King, 19 (04.10.03), of Essex, spoke online about committing an attack for several months, and carried out hostile reconnaissance at various locations.

Matthew KingHe talked about targeting police officers and a member of the armed forces. Officers found a picture taken by King on his phone, which showed police officers standing outside a court building, with the caption “target acquired” (sic)

King appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday, 2 June where he was sentenced to a life imprisonment, with a minimum term of six years (less 367 days already spent on remand) before he can be considered for release

Commander Dominic Murphy, who leads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said:

“King was a committed, self-initiated terrorist who we believe was close to carrying out an attack. He will now spend a long time in jail, where he doesn’t pose a risk to the public.

“It is notable that this investigation started as a direct result of calls to police from members of the public who were concerned about King’s extremist mindset, and this case is a powerful example of how vitally important information from the public is to counter-terrorism investigations.

“The speed at which King self-radicalised and then began to start planning an attack was alarming, and the calls made to us from members of the public about King led directly to police stopping him committing a deadly attack.

“This case shows that people can and should have confidence in reporting concerns linked to terrorism to us – those calls really do make a difference, and police will act on the information to keep people safe.

“I would like to commend the work of the investigation team, who built the strong foundations of the case in the two weeks after his arrest, and worked in challenging circumstances to secure the evidence needed to charge King and ensure he remained in custody from the time of his arrest.”

An investigation into King was launched in April 2022 after information was received about concerns over his extreme Islamist mind-set. Further enquiries were carried out and King was arrested at an address in Essex on 18 May 2022.

While he was held in custody, officers conducted fast-time enquiries, including digital forensic analysis of his devices. They found evidence of his extremist beliefs including Daesh propaganda videos, as well as videos he took at various locations during hostile reconnaissance visits between March and May 2022, and conversations about attack planning.

He had filmed a London army barracks and a police station, as well as recording officers at railway stations, and outside a criminal court.

In the week up until his arrest, he talked to a female friend online and expressed an intention and desire to travel to Syria and take part in violent Jihad, and referenced becoming a martyr on several occasions. In one excerpt, King states that he is ‘training for Jihad’ and later states ‘I just want to kill people’.

Enquiries found that he had taken steps to buy a knife online in December 2021, and he also planned to travel abroad to join Daesh.

He was charged with preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to Section 5(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006 on 31 May 2022.

King appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday, 20 January where he pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts (contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2000).

The investigation into King – supported by colleagues from the Eastern Region Specialist Operations Unit – was built on evidence drawn from his online searches, social media activity and chats; cell site data; CCTV; witness accounts and physical evidence recovered by officers.

In the week after King was charged, nearly 80 officers and staff from across SO15 were working on the investigation and gathering evidence. A large team were tasked with reviewing digital evidence, and they pored through and viewed around 500,000 digital files recovered from the devices seized.

Communities defeat terrorism, and information from the public is vital to counter terrorism investigations. If you see or hear something unusual or suspicious and think someone may be engaging in terrorist activity, trust your instincts and act by reporting it in confidence at or the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, dial 999.

Visit the ACT Early website at to find out how you can seek help and support for anyone who you suspect may be being radicalised.