A teenage Neo-Nazi from Durham has been sentenced to six years and eight months in custody after being convicted of six terror offences, including preparing to commit acts of terrorism in his home city between October 2017 and March 2019.
The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, listed venues in Durham "worth attacking" in a hand-written manifesto entitled "Storm 88 - A Manual For Practical And Sensible Guerrilla Warfare Against The Kike System In The Durham City Area, Sieg Heil."
Counter-Terrorism Policing North East told ITV News Tyne Tees this case is particularly “shocking” because of the boy’s age.
I think what’s most shocking in this case is the age of the person involved… When we arrested this boy he was only 16 years old and had really clear strong views and clearly strong ideology with some quite troubling, worrying acts that he said he would like to commit… Accelerationism is an ideology put forward by white supremacists and it calls for direct violent action in the name of Neo-Nazi or white supremacism so it’s espoused across the world, espoused online and it is troubling that a 16-year-old boy is finding this, is latching onto it, is supporting it and is taking on that belief.
The police first came into contact with the boy when he was 15, following concerns over his activities online and in school. Described as “clearly bright and articulate” by police, he was able to “scour the internet” for extreme far right ideological materials.
The police and other statutory partners came into contact with him when he was a 15-year-old boy, following concerns about his online activity and some comments that he was making and a number of agencies engaged with him to try and counter his ideology and divert him away from the path that he was taking… We had growing concerns about his online activity. He was espousing Neo-Nazi white supremacist ideology. We suspected he was in possession of terrorist material. Material that could support somebody committing an act of terrorism and we just got to a stage where we felt we had to act to prevent any further serious criminal conduct being committed… I don’t think he was too close to carrying out an attack himself. The prosecution case never identified a clear act or acts that were going to be committed, but there were preparatory steps being taken and he was also potentially radicalising others online and in chatroom forums, so he was at risk, not only to the wider community, but to others online.
During the trial, the jury was told how the boy, who described himself as a "natural sadist" had researched Neo-Nazism, taking inspiration from far right terrorists like Anders Breivik.
The boy was described as a follower of "occult" neo-Nazism, who researched Adolf Hitler, other far-right figures and had read Mein Kampf.
The jury heard how the boy listed targets for potential attacks, including a passport office, schools, pubs, council buildings, bus stops and post offices in a section labeled "Areas To Attack" to "maximise the impact of the attacks and damage the system the most".
In one note he wrote that he wanted to target the City of Durham with "guerrilla warfare" and in another he wrote about replacing democracy with "political violence".
In one entry he wrote of planning to conduct an arson spree with Molotov cocktails on local synagogues.
Various handwritten documents were seized from his bedroom in March last year by police, who also found a collection of far-right literature, Manchester Crown Court heard.
The jury heard how the defendant had researched explosives and tried to obtain the dangerous chemical ammonium nitrate.
He also visited websites on firearms and was in communication with a gun auctioneer.
I think this case shows quite clearly what the risks are online. There are people out there, radicalisers, who wish to groom and wish to manipulate young people. People who are vulnerable either by age or mental health issues or other complex needs. People who are sometimes detached from families or society in general and I think it shows us that we have got to have a far greater understanding of the risks of extremism, of radicalisation online to prevent it, to identify it and to have engagement with young and vulnerable people far earlier.