Mum of Washington student accused of planning terror acts says he 'struggles to tie own shoe laces'

The trial is taking place at Teesside Crown Court Credit: PA

The mother of a student accused of preparing acts of terrorism has told a jury he struggles with basic tasks and has difficulty tying his shoe laces to this day.

Deborah Skelton told the jury at Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday 11 May how her 18-year-old son Luke had been diagnosed with autism as a young child.

Giving evidence, often through tears, she said he had only ever been invited to two parties at school and had been socially isolated and awkward growing up.

It is alleged the teenager, of Kielder Oxclose, Washington, went on a reconnaissance trip to Forth Banks police station in Newcastle and had identified it as a potential target.

Forth Banks police station in Newcastle was allegedly identified as a potential target. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

His mother told the jury he got fixated sometimes and would say things but did not mean them.

She added at one point her son could not even boil an egg and struggles to remember the PIN number to his bank card.

Dismissing some of the things he had spoken about as 'la la land', she said he was not capable of a terror act and would not want to do something like that.Earlier in the hearing, under cross examination, the teenager also repeatedly denied there being any malicious intent to some of the information it is alleged he downloaded or things he had researched on the internet.

The court was court told he had looked up information on making a flame thrower, how dynamite is made and had downloaded a recipe for dynamite.

He said he could not remember why he had done certain things but was certain things had not been done with any intent.

Scratching his head in the witness box at points, he told the court he might have 'accidentally' bookmarked something.

Questioned about a note made on looking for a cheap storage unit and building a flame thrower, the defendant said: “These two are separate things put into one note.”

The flame thrower he said was and is a fantasy. The storage unit he said he 'thought was a nice way to deal with some clutter'.

The trial continues.