A neo-Nazi teenage boy in the UK who ranted about hanging gays and shooting up pride parades online has avoided jail after becoming Britain’s youngest terror offender.
The 16-year-old, who can’t be named, dodged jail time at the Central Criminal Court of England on Monday. He instead received a 24-month youth rehabilitation order including counter-terrorism interventions.
He admitted 10 counts of possessing terrorist material and also two counts of disseminating terrorist publications.
Now 16, the boy was just 13 years old when he downloaded a bomb-making manual and joined a neo-Nazi website.
In vile online messages, the teenager ranted about hanging gay people and “shooting up their parades” as well as “gassing” Jewish people and murdering non-whites, the court heard.
The teen lived with his grandmother in Cornwall in England’s southwest, and conducted the activities out of the garden shed. Police found Nazi flags inside, and his stash of terrorist material on his devices.
He had manuals on making explosives, learning knife fighting skills, and building assault rifles at home.
At age 14, he founded a British cell of banned neo-Nazi terror group Feuerkrieg Division (FKD). He went on to “recruit” five others, including another 13-year-old in Estonia.
FKD advocates violence against non-white people in its propaganda, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
The teenage boy claimed he didn’t have racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic views. He told arresting police he wanted “to look cool” and “look like [he] was doing something for the cause.”
Neo-nazi teen’s conviction a chilling warning about extremism
Judge Mark Dennis QC said the teenage boy had descended into an “online world of wicked prejudice and violent bigotry”.
Dennis told him if he commits further offences, he will not have the excuse of “naivety or immaturity” and would go to jail.
Dennis said he was “deeply concerned” about youths worldwide also developing violent extremist mindsets. He told the court even if some exaggerate to “shock or impress,” “for others it will no doubt lead to acts of violence.”
Crown Prosecution Service counter-terror head Jenny Hopkins said, “People will rightly be disturbed that a 13-year-old should hold the most appalling neo-Nazi beliefs and start collecting manuals on bomb-making and firearms.
“He claimed not to have racist views and just wanted to appear ‘cool’.
“But the body of evidence led to him pleading guilty to possession and dissemination of terrorist material.”
Cornwall Police said the case was a warning of “the real and clear danger of online radicalisation”.
“The young age of the offender combined with the extreme hatred displayed and the quick progression of his role within the worldwide extremist group brings [the issue] into sharp focus,” Chief Superintendent Jim Pearce said.
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