'Andrew Tate admirer' planned Leeds Trinity University shooting 'for the lols'

Nicholas Rees, 26, has been jailed for six years. Credit: MEN Media

An Andrew Tate "admirer" has been jailed after telling his friend he wanted to walk into university one day "in full military-style get-up to shoot everyone for the lols".

Nicholas Rees, who was arrested while lying next to a gun on his bed, had been hoarding chemicals and air rifles in his room at Oxley Hall, in Weetwood, Leeds.

The 26-year-old was found guilty of making and having an explosive substance and possession of a bladed article after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Rees had been completing a Master's degree in international business at Leeds Trinity University, but he "showed a resentment to other students, females in particular".

The court heard Rees was an admirer of controversial social media personality Andrew Tate, and he would talk about women in a "misogynistic way" if encounters with them "didn't turn out to his satisfaction".

Rees had ADHD, for which he was prescribed diazepam, but the court heard there was "evidence he wasn't taking it, because he was selling it to others".

Gerry Hendron, prosecuting, said: "He was aggrieved by others, [students], females, the doctors not medicating him, people in authority, and the police.

"On the 13th February 2023, he was arrested under suspicion of possession of a firearm - a starting pistol - and ammunition."

The court heard Rees had also obtained chemicals which could be constituents in an explosive substance and camouflage.

Mr Hendron added: "It was apparent in the trial that the months, weeks and days before his final arrest gave rise to suspicion that they did not have a lawful purpose."

The prosecutor told the court that the items found were "mainly to attack students on campus or the police" and that Rees was "exhibiting worrying behaviour to others".

He added: "Reports were made to management about him from other students.

"By February 2023, he was seen to be carrying what appeared to be a firearm in the communal areas of the halls. As a result a report was made to the police."

On 13 February last year, Rees went to his GP surgery and asked to speak to the practice manager after sending a complaint form referring to a failure to prescribe his medication, resulting in PTSD.Mr Hendron said: "The defendant told the practice manager about his medication and said he needed diazepam. He said without it, his mind went into dark places and he referred to himself going on 'one last outing' and 'doing something serious.'

"She took this to mean a shooting spree or a bomb and this made her extremely anxious. He showed the practice manager searches of how to make body armour.

"He said he didn't want to do these things, but without the diazepam he would."The court heard that in a separate incident, in a chain of messages to his friend, Rees showed her "what he had been making" and said he was hoping to get a ballistic face mask.

Mr Hendron said: "When asked why, he said: 'For walking into uni one day in full military-style get-up to shoot everyone for the lols.'"Rees was arrested in February last year and police seized the pistol and cartridges he was carrying at the time. He was interviewed and released on bail under caution.The court heard that Rees believed a female student who he was attracted to had made the police report and he approached her "saying he had a gift for her."

Mr Hendron said: "He gave her a noose made out of yarn and said to her in Polish: 'Go hang yourself you stupid b***h.'

"[Internet] searches found he had been searching similar words in Polish. He began using body armour around the halls and began talking about replica guns.

"The defendant had made requests with maintenance staff at the halls to borrow their drills and told students it was for drilling out a replica gun to make it a real firearm."

It was said that over the coming months, before his final arrest in May last year, Rees made two visits to two separate shooting clubs, where he concerned members with his behaviour.

The court heard that at the Yorkshire Shooting Club, a member observed him carrying a rifle bag which contained a "large combat knife."

Mr Hendron said: "He said it was against the law to carry them in a bag. Rees explained they were not real and just for display."

Rees was arrested following two "concerning" phone calls he had with a West Yorkshire Police Detective Constable on 10 May last year. The court heard he had asked about his bail and when it had come to an end.

Mr Hendron said: "He told the officer he had been in touch with local news outlets about how badly he had been treated by the police. He said if the police did anything to him again he would be acting in self-defence."

Rees said he would give officers "three warnings to him alone or in self-defence he would use weapons."

He also said he would give three warnings to staff members at his halls of residence if they carried out spot checks in his room, which they were allowed to do.

Mr Hendron said: "He was advised that if he didn't want people to go into his room he should tell them and call the police and not use violence against them. He became irate and began shouting.

"The officer put the phone down on him and called him a short time later."

During the second phone call, the court heard Rees spoke about what chemicals are legal to possess.

The officer made a referral to the counter-terrorism department and the next day officers attended Oxley Hall and detained another man before arresting Rees, who was laying on his bed next to an assault rifle.

Mr Hendron said that as Rees was taken to custody, he asked watching students: "Are you enjoying the show?"

A search of his room found various materials and chemicals including sulphur, a copper pipe, magnesium and iron oxide.

Mr Hendron said: "Evidence from a friend said that on the day of the arrest, the defendant jumped out at him dressed in camo clothing. He told him that he wanted to harm the police.

"Another witness - a flatmate - said he heard the defendant talking about making bombs."

The court heard that Rees had a previous conviction from when he was a youth for possession of a bladed article and common assault.

It was said that psychiatric evidence concluded that he has a mixed personality disorder, ADHD and "mental and behavioural disorders due to multiple drug misuse."He had also spent time in the care system as a teenager.Ryan Donoghue, mitigating, said Rees maintains he had a lawful purpose for the materials.

Mr Donoghue told the judge: "It will be apparent to you that he is an individual with a very complex mental health history. He was biologically predisposed - his mum having been diagnosed with very similar conditions. He wasn't given support or help until more recently.

"He was bullied for a long period of time and spent time in the care system, with his mental health diagnosis of ADHD causing difficulties during school."

Mr Donoghue said Rees had lost both his stepdad and friend, which had a significant effect on him. He added that he is no longer using illicit substances but was "still having thoughts of self-harm around the time of the events that led to his conviction."

Mr Donoghue said: "He is relatively still a young man with most of his life ahead of him. While he maintains his innocence to the charges he faces he is not someone completely devoid of insight into his conduct. His ideas are ultimately a fantasy."His Honour Judge Khan KC jailed Rees for six years and told him: "What you did was acquire explosive substances and other chemicals with a view to cause harm to others."

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