A teenager who praised Adolf Hitler and spoke to fellow pupils about carrying out a school shooting constructed a potential bomb, a court heard.
The 16-year-old, who can’t be named for legal reasons, told other kids he was going on a rampage, aiming to kill many people and then be shot by police or kill himself.
The teen, who previously praised Adolf Hitler, and said ‘gas the Jews’ to fellow students, researched bomb making extensively before creating a device by strapping together two C02 cannisters and filling one with shrapnel.
If gunpowder was added to it, it could have been a ‘viable C02 bomb’, Leeds Crown Court was told.
The teen followed the instructions for the manufacture of the device in a copy of ‘The Anarchist’s Corner’ on June 18 2018.
He was caught after a search warrant was obtained and executed at an address in Bradford, West Yorkshire, by officers of the North East Counter Terrorism Unit in August 2018.
During the raid, officers seized two computer towers and two CO2 canisters that had been joined together from his bedroom and filled with shrapnel, the jury heard.
The ‘Anarchist’s Corner’ instructions state a C02 bomb can be ‘used for crowd control or killing if shrapnel is added’ in bold type.
The court heard the defendant admitted he had joined the C02 canisters together but denied he had done so to create a usable bomb, instead claiming he thought it would just look like one and that would be ‘cool’.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to one count of making an explosive substance with intent, one count of making an explosive substance and three counts of possession of a document ‘likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.
Opening the case, Mr Greaney QC said: “The events with which this case is mainly concerned occurred between March 2016 and August 2018, when [the defendant] was between the ages of 13 and 15.
“During that period, like many young teenagers, [the defendant] had strong opinions and an intense interest in the Internet.
“However, as he became older, both his opinions and his use of the Internet became increasingly disturbing, indeed menacing.”
His searches on the Internet “became progressively dark”, the jury were told.
“Not only did he research extremism, but he also began to access videos and information about murder, torture and mutilation”, Mr Greaney, QC told the court.
“The defendant researched other matters that demonstrate that his purpose in manufacturing the device was malevolent… which indicate that his intention was to endanger life or to cause serious damage to property”, the prosecutor said.
He continued: “We must emphasise that this is no overblown prosecution of a boy doing no more than messing about or fantasising in his bedroom.
“What [the defendant] did was serious and dangerous, and what he intended worse still.”
Events detailed in court began in 2016 when the defendant was just 13, the court heard.
He made plain an interest in computers and hacking to a police officer attending an incident between himself and a fellow pupil, the court heard.
Mr Greaney QC said: “[In February 2017] the defendant agreed that he had made disturbing statements about Hitler but said, in effect, that he had done so to show off.
“He accepted that he had also spoken about bomb making and told the officer that he had actually manufactured a drain cleaning bomb.”
The teen was referred to the Prevent program, the court was told.
Prevent is part of the government’s counter terrorism strategy and is designed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
He met an intervention mentor ten times during the program, where he “expressed disturbing views, including views about causing harm and spoke about bomb making, explaining that he had accessed the Dark Web”, the prosecutor told the court.
On 16th August 2017, the intervention mentor gave the defendant a warning about section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and told him the material he had been accessing “put him at risk of conviction”, the court heard.
However, on 22nd December 2017, four months later, “[the defendant] burnt a CD that contained a substantial body of material providing bomb making instructions and which is, therefore, undoubtedly useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”, the prosecutor told the jury.
During 2017, the teen attended an army cadet detachment.
“He received military training, including in relation to weapons”, Mr Greaney told the court.
In April 2017 as an army cadet, the defendant attended a weekend camping trip where he “brought with him a knife” and “used it to slash tents, frightening the female occupants and causing damage”, the prosecutor said.
As a result, he was dismissed from the cadets, the jury was told.
After moving to his grandparents’ home in early 2018, the defendant’s use of his computer “became extremely dark”, the court heard.
A search warrant was conducted on August 10 2018 and the teen was arrested the following day.
The defendant sat motionless in the dock during the start of the opening address wearing a black suit and white shirt.
The trial, which is expected to last two to three weeks, continues.
By Ben Gelblum and Daniel Sheridan