Boy plotted ‘Columbine’ massacre in UK, court told

Columbine pupil Eric Harris, who helped murder 13 people. Picture: AP
Columbine pupil Eric Harris, who helped murder 13 people. Picture: AP
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A TEENAGER armed with guns and explosives planned a repeat of the Columbine massacre at his former school, a court has heard.

The boy, who was 16 at the time, was found to have petrol bombs, air rifles, pistols and armour at his home which he planned to use on staff and pupils at the school in Loughborough, Leicestershire, it is alleged.

The boy, who has Asperger’s syndrome, also named his college, a local mosque, a cinema, Loughborough University and the town’s council offices as potential targets, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.

A Che Guevara notebook emblazoned with Nazi swastikas and English Defence League (EDL) mottos was found when his home was searched by police in February, the jury was told. It included drawings showing how he would arm himself and discussed tactics to carry out “The New Columbine”, the court heard.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 pupils and one teacher at Columbine High in Colorado in 1999 before killing themselves, in one of America’s worst mass-shootings.

A Mujahideen Poisons Handbook was also found in the defendant’s home, along with video and dictaphone recordings in which he discussed an attack, the prosecution claimed.

Prosecutor Max Hill QC said the jury must consider whether the boy was a “misfit” or “something altogether more sinister and serious”.

“Is that child’s play? Is it harmless? Or is it something more sinister?” he said.

Mr Hill said the boy, now 17, claimed to be a member of an EDL branch and had a swastika on his bedroom wall along with a poster of the Joker from the Batman film The Dark Knight.

He wrote in a letter found at his home that there were “too many Muslims in the UK and Europe” who wanted to “take over Europe and put Sharia law in place”, the prosecutor said.

The defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies a charge of possessing items for the purpose, preparation and instigation of an act of terrorism.

They include nine partially assembled petrol bombs, commercial firework powder, part-assembled pipe bombs, partially constructed improvised explosive devices (IEDs), a stab-proof vest, a gas mask, various air guns, and a notebook with information about the planning and construction of explosive devices, it is alleged.

The boy also denies one count of possessing a document containing information likely to be useful for a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, and a further count of possessing explosives in the form of component parts of IEDs.

He and two other 17-year-old boys have already pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing petrol bombs and component parts of pipe bombs for the use of explosive devices.

The jury was shown extracts from the teenager’s notebook, allegedly outlining his attack plans. He wrote: “Before I go into school gates, enter K block and chain both exits shut. Enter each classroom taking out the teachers. Use explosives to eliminate most of the students.”

The trial, which is expected to last six weeks, was adjourned until today.