News Source: The Guardian
Writer: Steven Morris
A 17-year-old boy planned an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack on the day of a Justin Bieber concert and searched the internet for details of the event’s security, a court has heard.
The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, was detained at his home in south Wales by police who found a claw hammer, a kitchen knife and a “martyrdom letter” in his school rucksack.
Prosecutors allege that in the run-up to the pop concert on 30 June, he conducted online research, obtained weapons and prepared a suicide note.
Opening the case against him, the prosecutor, Matthew Brook, said a copy of a poster relating to the concert was found on the defendant’s computer.
Taking the jury through web searches conducted by the boy on 28 June, Brook told Birmingham crown court: “At 10.10pm, there is this defendant searching ‘Justin Bieber Cardiff 2017’.
“Justin Bieber was having a large concert in Cardiff on June 30, two days after this search.”
On 29 June, the court heard, a media file was created on the teenager’s computer showing a poster for the concert at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
Jurors were told the boy also searched for “Justin Bieber Cardiff security” on the same day. Brook said: “This defendant is interested in what the security will be for a large public event.”
The defendant denies preparing to commit acts of terrorism and four other terrorism charges.
Jurors were told he had also penned a note with bullet points including “run down the non-believers with a car” and “strike the infidels who oppose Allah in the neck”.
A note found in his bedroom read: “I am a soldier of the Islamic State. I have attacked Cardiff today because your government keep on bombing targets in Syria and Iraq. There will be more attacks in the future.”
The boy, who is from a white British background, was detained by police on 30 June.
Brook told the jury: “In this case, the evidence will prove that he became radicalised over the internet. He had terrorist material stored on his computer, he published posts on Instagram which encouraged terrorism, and he was planning a ‘lone wolf’ style attack in the name of Islam.
“In June of this year, the defendant had been posting material on Instagram. He posted images of terrorists, pictures of the Isis flag and images encouraging a terrorist attack on Cardiff.”
After police went to the boy’s home, the court heard, he told them the password for his Instagram account was “TruckAttack” and they seized his mobile phone.
A laptop was found at the property, on which were two copies of a propaganda magazine containing instructions for carrying out knife and vehicle attacks.
After the teenager was detained, police were concerned about whether an attack in Cardiff was planned, and a “safety interview” was carried out at a police station.
“He told the police that he had been talking to someone on Instagram for about a week,” Brook told the jury. “That person had told him he would go to hell because he did not believe in Islam. That person had told him he needed to do an act of terrorism if he wanted to go to paradise.
“The defendant accepted in this interview that he had posted material on Instagram about an attack on Cardiff, but claimed he did not mean any harm.
“He stated that he had put the hammer and knife in his bag, but he claimed to the police that he had not intended to use them to attack anybody.”
The trial continues.
Photo Courtesy: Photograph: Paul McFegan/Sportsphoto Ltd./Allstar