UK schoolboy convicted over plans to attack Bieber show
A Welsh teenager has been convicted of planning to drive a car into a crowd of people in Cardiff in an Islamic State (Isis)-inspired terrorist attack.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), one of the 17-year-old’s targets was the Justin Bieber concert at the Principality Stadium (74,500-cap.) on 30 June. On the morning of the show – which was also targeted by a machete-wielding anti-Muslim extremist who reportedly threatened to “chop [up] all Muslims” – police raided the schoolboy’s house and discovered a large knife, a hammer and a ‘martyrdom’ letter pledging his allegiance to Isis as a “soldier of the Islamic State”.
The teenager had also downloaded two editions of an Isis propaganda magazine advising on how to commit a vehicle-based attack, while his internet history included searches for ‘Isis beheading video’, ‘Isis terrorist attacks’, ‘Police car UK armed response’, ‘how to create a terror attack’, ‘driving a lorry into a crowd of people’ and ‘what does getting shot feel like’. His Instagram password was ‘Truck Attack’.
Other potential targets included Cardiff Castle, the New Theatre, the Capitol shopping centre, the Central Library, the CPS says.
“This teenager’s behaviour over many months leaves no doubt that he intended to kill and maim as many people as possible”
At his trial at Birmingham crown court, the 17-year-old – who is a white Briton – accepted he had written the letter and placed the knife and hammer in his rucksack but denied intending to harm anyone.
“This teenager’s behaviour over many months leaves no doubt that he intended to kill and maim as many people as possible in an attack reminiscent of the incident on Westminster bridge,” says Sue Hemming, head of the CPS’s special crime and counter-terrorism division. “He was also posting extremist content online that could have encouraged others to commit terrorist acts and downloading instructions on how to carry out ‘lone wolf’ attacks.
“The CPS presented overwhelming evidence that he was prepared to die for Daesh [Isis]’s extremist worldview and he will now rightly face the prospect of a substantial prison sentence.”
The teenager will be sentenced at a later date.
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