Anzac Day terror plot teen to serve at least five years in custody

Published: Friday 2nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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Britain’s youngest terrorist has been sentenced to a least five years in custody for plotting an Anzac Day terror attack in Australia.

Over the course of nine days in March this year the then 14-year-old boy took on the role of “organiser and adviser” to an alleged Australian jihadist in a plot to murder police officers by beheading in Melbourne the following month.

The youngster, from Blackburn, Lancashire, exchanged more than 3,000 encrypted mobile app messages with 18-year-old Sevdet Besim after he became swiftly radicalised by online Islamic State propaganda.

A “major terrrorist plot in its late stages” was thwarted when authorities in Britain and Australia intervened and Besim was arrested in possession of a knife a week before the annual war remembrance event.

The youngster, now aged 15, was given a life sentence at Manchester Crown Court and told he would serve at least five years.

Mr Justice Saunders said the defendant’s life term meant he would not be released until he is considered not to be dangerous.

He said: “Thanks to the intervention of the police in this country and in Australia, that attack and the deaths which were intended to follow never happened.

“Had the authorities not intervened, (the defendant) would have continued to play his part hoping and intending that the outcome would be the deaths of a number of people.

“In March 2015 he would have been pleased if that had happened. He would have welcomed the notoriety that he would have achieved.”

He continued: “The revelation in this case that someone of only 14 could have become so radicalised that he was prepared to carry out this role intending and wishing that people should die is chilling.”

The judge ruled that reporting restrictions which ban the identification of the Muslim defendant should remain.

The bespectacled teenager, wearing grey trousers, a grey shirt and patterned tie, hugged his parents and family members in turn after sentence was passed down before he was led from the courtroom to begin his sentence.

Published: Friday 2nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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