Gateshead student sentenced for plotting to blow up Newcastle police station

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Luke Skelton plotted to blow up a police station to spark a race war. Credit: Counter Terrorism Policing North East

A white supremacist who plotted to blow up a police station as a teenager in order to spark a race war has been jailed for four years.

Luke Skelton, was 18 when he carried out "hostile reconnaissance” of Forth Banks police station in Newcastle after researching ways to build explosives and downloading material about making napalm, dynamite and Molotov cocktails.

Following a trial at Teesside Crown Court in May, the former Gateshead College student, now 20, was found guilty of preparing to carry out a terrorist attack.

Now, he has been sentenced to four years behind bars with an extended licence period of one year following a hearing on Tuesday 11 July.

Skelton was first arrested by anti-terror officers in June 2021 and was referred to the Prevent anti-terror programme.

Jurors were told the defendant – who was said to have racist, sexist, homophobic, antisemitic and Islamophobic views – travelled over 10 miles from his home in Oxclose, Washington, in September 2021 to take photos of the police station in Newcastle city centre.

The court also heard how he wrote a manifesto and a "final note" in which he discussed accelerating a "racial war."

Passing sentence, Judge Paul Watson KC the Recorder of Middlesbrough, said Skelton was “engaged in a course of conduct based on extreme right-wing views” and wanted to “bring about civil disturbance by terrorist means."

He told the defendant: “Your internet activity shows you were a committed and active right-wing extremist dedicated to white supremacy.

“You made heroes of those who carried out atrocities in the name of fascism.”

Luke Skelton was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court. Credit: PA

He said the defendant was “completely caught up in terrorist ideology and methods'" when he completed his reconnaissance mission and intended to deploy the explosives in a busy area.

However, he added that Skelton did not have "the intellectual, financial or technical wherewithal to have been able to construct an explosive device capable of creating even modest injury.”

Crispin Aylett KC, mitigating, said Skelton “never actually did any more than take a couple of photos” which suggested he “lost interest or simply changed his mind”.

Mr Aylett said the defendant’s responsibility was “substantially reduced” by his autism, adding: “People with autism feel marginalised and are more prone to being radicalised. Some – and Luke Skelton was one of them – want to lash out.”

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