Teenager published extreme far-right videos watched by suspects of American mass shootings

The videos created by teenager Daniel Harris are thought to have been watched and shared by two suspects in mass shootings in America. Credit: Derbyshire Police

A 'highly dangerous' teenager who published extreme far-right videos which influenced at least one American mass shooting has been jailed for 11 and a half years.

Daniel Harris, 19, produced the films from his grandfather's spare room in Glossop in the Peak District, which celebrated armed uprisings and mass shootings.

Manchester Crown Court was told videos Harris produced were shared online by Payton Gendron, who has pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and linked to Anderson Lee Aldrich, the only suspect in a shooting at a gay bar in Colorado.

Sentencing Harris, Judge Patrick Field KC said: “What they did was truly appalling but what they did was no more than you intended to encourage others to do when publishing this material online.”

Referring to Gendron, 19, who has admitted murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges, the judge said: “This indicates that at the very least the material you produced and published has had some influence upon the young man, and I note he was a similar age to you, who went out and shot 10 black people dead in a store in Buffalo.”

He said he had “no hesitation” in coming to the conclusion that Harris was “highly dangerous” and passed an extended sentence, with a licence period of three years on top of the custodial sentence.

The teenager, who wore a grey suit, was found guilty following a trial of five counts of encouraging terrorism and one count of possession of material for terrorist purposes, relating to a 3D printer he was trying to use to make firearm parts.

The court heard his offences were carried out over a period of 14 months and began when Harris was 17.

Judge Field said: “You were, throughout that time, a propagandist for an extremist right-wing ideology. You were in close touch with other right-wing extremists online and there can be little doubt that you shared ideas between you.”

The 3D printed gun parts that Harris created. Credit: Derbyshire Police

The court heard the videos he produced glorified mass murderers and encouraged others to emulate them by carrying out similar attacks.

One video, called How to Achieve Victory, said there was a need for “total extermination of sub-humans once and for all”, the court was told.

Judge Field said Harris had previous convictions including the racially aggravated criminal damage of a memorial to George Floyd in Manchester.

He was engaged with a deradicalisation programme, but told the operative his behaviour was a “blip” and denied having any interest in politics.

At the time he made those claims, the court heard, he was creating a video homage to Thomas Mair, who murdered MP Jo Cox.

The judge said he demonstrated “a level of deceit and cunning”.

Joe Allman, prosecuting, said a video created by Harris, referring to Brenton Tarrant who carried out the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, was shared online by American mass-murderer Gendron in January and February 2022.

Mr Allman said: “The prosecution maintain that Mr Gendron was inspired by Mr Harris’ material.”

The court heard on one of Harris’s videos, which referred to Tarrant as an “Australian saint”, an unknown user commented: “This video has moved me. I was on the fence, now I am committed to my race.”

A reply from Gendron’s username said: “You are not alone my friend.”

Gendron has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges after 10 black shoppers and workers were killed at a Buffalo supermarket in May 2022.

Mr Allman said information about links between material posted by Harris and Aldrich came to light after the Club Q shootings, which happened in November while Harris was on trial.

He said Harris’s video was posted on the “brother site” to a website with links to what appeared to be a livestream of Aldrich preparing to carry out the attacks, in which five people were killed and 25 were injured.

Mr Allman said: “The Crown say it demonstrates that individuals of the greatest concern have accessed the material produced by Mr Harris.”

Harris had attempted to use a 3D printer to create parts of a firearm, the court heard.

The teen was arrested earlier this year following an investigation by specialist officers from the Counter Terror Policing East Midlands team.

He was found guilty following a trial of five counts of encouraging terrorism and one count of possession of material for terrorist purposes.

He was acquitted of one charge. 

James Walker, defending, said: “Daniel Harris is pragmatic enough to realise there is very little that can actually be said by way of mitigation.”

He said the defendant was withdrawn from mainstream school at seven.

He said: “There have been quite disgraceful failings by both his family and the local authority.”

He told the court Harris, of of Lord Street, Glossop, had refused to be assessed for autism but it was clear there were “ongoing social problems”.

Following the sentencing Counter Terrorism Police East Midlands Detective Inspector Chris Brett said Harris had made "a concerted effort to generate a following and influence people".

He said: "The threat he posed became such that we had to act in order to ensure the safety of the wider public.

"The reference to one of his videos in the prelude to the Buffalo attack is a case in point.

"The level of risk was laid bare when we found evidence of an intention to create a gun from parts printed from a 3D printer, kept in a room used for storage.

"Granted, it was a crude attempt.

“Harris could see the reaction his videos were getting. This was not a one-off, this was not a game, this was a concerted effort to generate a following and influence people."