Ex-student planned one of Britain's worst mass murders

The court heard Liam Lyburd wanted to go to the college campus and kill. Credit: PA

In the three years since Liam Lyburd was expelled from Newcastle College he built up an anger and resentment for the college that he planned to translate into extreme violence.

The 19 year old had sat in his bedroom for years creating a ‘plan’ for November the 3rd 2014. That plan would involve bombs, knives, CS spray and a Glock handgun ready with almost 100 rounds of bullets. He wanted to go to the college campus and kill.

For months he’d been ranting and raving about his ‘plan’ to a number of girls he was friends with on the internet. To one he said: “Can I tell you a secret? I’m going to be dead next week. I’ll go down in style like a God.”

He had an obsession with violent movies, including one called Tower Block in which a sniper picks off victims by firing through their living room windows. The teenager also described the killing of 77 people in Norway by Anders Breivik as a ‘master plan’.

Newcastle College, where Lyburd planned to carry out his attack. Credit: PA

Eventually it was his online ranting and raving that proved his undoing. On what he had planned to be his day of reckoning the police were alerted to one of his Facebook posts and when they arrived at his address in Newcastle to arrest him they found a cache of weapons in his bedroom. On his computer they discovered a note describing his murderous intent and a picture of his posing in a balaclava point his gun at the camera.

The note read: “You people ruined my whole life, don’t expect me to show mercy today. No one disrespects me and gets away with it. I’ll teach you people a little lesson on respect with my 9mm jacketed hollow points. Fantasy will become reality today for sure.It’s time for extreme civil disobedience and yes, people will die, there’s no question about that.”

When he was arrested Liam Lyburd told police that they had saved many lives but then he changed his tune and said it was all just a fantasy and that he’d been high on valium. The 19 year old had come addicted to the drugs and would regularly take up to six tablets a day.

Before his five-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court the teenager admitted nine charges of weapon possession but denied the eight charges of intention to endanger life.

Pictures recovered from the laptop of Liam Lyburd. Credit: CPS/PA Wire

For two days the 19 year old gave evidence on his behalf during which he repeatedly stated it was all just a hoax - he wanted people to believe he was capable of such an attack.

He was shown to be a proficient computer hacker. Able to use other peoples Paypal accounts to purchase some of his arsenal and also to order himself pizza and burgers. He sourced many of his weapon parts from the dark web. He told jurors it was as easy as “buying a bar of chocolate”. He said if he hadn’t been arrested he would probably still be in his bedroom buying “strange things”.

For two days the jury at Newcastle Crown Court deliberated, weighing up whether this young man was just a fantasist or whether he was truly capable of mass murder.

Items recovered from the home he shared with his mother and sister. Credit: CPS/PA Wire

This afternoon a jury at Newcastle Crown Court unanimously ruled that Liam Lyburd did have the intention to kill and if not arrested would have carried out one of the worst mass murders Britain had ever suffered. As that guilty verdict was delivered the 19 year old made a shooting gesture to his head.

The judge has said only a very substantial sentence will be appropriate in this case. That sentence will be delivered on September the 25th following psychiatric evaluations of the teenager.