Teenager admits possession of bomb-making equipment

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A 16-year-old boy has admitted possessing explosive chemicals and bomb-making books and diagrams.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to two terror charges and another offence at a hearing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court today.

He admitted possessing explosive substances and a host of literature including a book on how to make the explosive Semtex.

The boy, who was arrested at his home in Northamptonshire, in February last year, admitted possessing explosive substances, namely sulphur powder and potassium nitrate, between January 1, 2012, and February 26, 2012.

He also admitted possession of numerous books and manuals, of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism between October 1, 2011, and February 26, 2012, contrary to Section 58(1)(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000.

The texts in his possession included; The Terrorist Handbook; The Black Book Companion: State-Of-The-Art Improvised Munitions; CIA Explosives For Sabotage Manual; Handbook of Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents; Home Explosives Workshop; Home-made Semtex; Home-made C4 - A Recipe For Survival and Improved Landmines - Their Employment And Destructive Capabilities.

The list of manuals further included; The Department of the Army’s Improvised Munitions Handbook; Improvised Munitions Black Book; Improvised Radio Detonation Techniques; Improvised Weapons of the American Underground; Incendiaries - Advanced Improvised Explosives; Kitchen Improvised Fertilizer Explosives; Ragnar’s Detonators; An Anarchist Cookbook - Recipes For Disaster; The Anarchist’s Cookbook; Department of the Army Manual - Unconventional Warfare Devices and Techniques - Incendiaries; The Advanced Anarchist Arsenal; and ZIP’s Arsenal of Pipes Improvised Weapons and Pens.

He also admitted possession of a quantity of prohibited images of children in Northamptonshire, on February 26, 2012.

Since his arrest he has been detained under the Mental Health Act in secure accommodation in the West Midlands area, said Mark Topping, prosecuting.

The teenager first came to the attention of British police after agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) passed on an alert to the Metropolitan Police they had received from a web user in the US about comments about a “school massacre” he had made in an online chatroom, said Mr Topping.

He reportedly told someone in the chatroom that “20 minutes from now I am going to storm a high school armed with a Magnum (handgun) and a Beretta (pistol)”, said Mr Topping.

He then said he would “shoot until the police arrive and then shoot himself”.

The teenager had also posted several pictures of himself on a website posing with imitation firearms, one of which made reference to a high school.

The boy had kept a notebook written with “notes about plans to kill pupils at school”, a plan of where people sat at their desks, said Mr Topping.

Research the boy had done on a computer in his bedroom at home where he lived with both parents also uncovered an interest in serial killers and guns.

However, while the boy was deemed a risk by doctors, district judge Howard Riddle was told he had “never been physically aggressive”, by his father and was “quiet at school”, according to consultant child psychologist Dr John Brian.

Dr Brian said the boy was also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome shortly after his arrest in February 2012, which if untreated could lead to “anxiety” and a “fixation” with particular topics.

Asked by Mr Topping if he thought the boy was a risk to the public, he replied the risk assessment carried out when he was first seen by doctors showed that “he was a risk, yes”.

Dr Brian said the boy was “academically good” and had been working towards his GCSEs while being treated in a secure hospital, saying with further help he was “optimistic” the teenager could become a useful member of society once again.

The doctor also said the boy had told him “none of it would have happened” and had expressed regret at what he had done.

Dr Brian said: “He has told me he thinks it was the biggest mistake of his life, and that he regrets it.

“He also said his sense of humour ‘cruises at the boundary’.”

Dr Brian said the teenager was now receiving therapeutic and medical treatment for his condition.

Sentencing, Mr Riddle handed the boy an initial six-month hospital order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act, saying to him: “We all wish you well for the future.”

A 16-year-old boy has today been ordered to remain in secure accommodation after pleading guilty to terrorism and possession of prohibited images of children charges.

Following the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Behan, from Northampton CID, said: “It has been a little over a year since we began our investigation and I welcome the decision of the defendant to enter a guilty plea.

“Not only has this proven to be a complex investigation for us, it has also had a huge impact on the community in which the defendant lived.

“Throughout the year we have been in close contact with the school the defendant attended, in a bid to keep them and the students who shared classes with him informed of the investigation.

“Clearly, the nature of some of the evidence discovered as part of the investigation caused great concern and so it was vital that we worked closely with the school to ensure students who were featured in the defendant’s diaries received as much support as possible.

“I would like to reassure people in Northamptonshire that we do take their security extremely seriously and this case shows that we can and do act quickly and decisively when required to do so.

“This has been a unique investigation for us, and I must take this opportunity to thank the team of officers involved for their tenacity in what has been an extremely complex piece of work.

“The nature of what we discovered during the course of the investigation, meant we requested the specialist assistance of the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, who I must also thank.”