LONDON: Two neo-Nazi teenagers who had plotted to bomb London “because it was not English enough” and planned attacks on Muslims narrowly avoided going to prison.
The unnamed boys, known as Boy A and B, admitted to terror offenses in court on Thursday but were spared custodial sentences.
Boy A, now 16, founded an extreme-right group called ‘The British Hand’ when he was just 14 and spoke on the encrypted messaging app, Telegram, about how he wanted to attack Muslims.
According to the Daily Mail, in one post he wrote: “I am planning an attack against the Dover coast where every Muslim and refugee has been given safety. If you are interested, tell me now.”
He was previously found guilty of planning to bomb a mosque. The teenager also possessed a video of the Christchurch mosque attacks, in which a terrorist killed 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand.
The boy had also made a string of calls to mosques across London and had been twice referred to the UK’s deradicalization program Prevent.
Westminster Crown Court heard that Boy A, the self-appointed leader of a group of young extremists, vetted new members in a private chat, spoke about “doing something” against ethnic minorities, and discussed weapons.
The court was told that the two boys went down a “twisted rabbit hole” during Britain’s first COVID-19 lockdown during which they spent a “concerning” amount of time online being radicalized by others.
Boy A admitted to a series of terror offenses, including preparing for acts of terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications on Telegram. He previously admitted to four charges of possessing terror documents.
The judge handed him a two-year youth referral order and a three-year criminal behavior order.
“I cannot emphasize how close you came to a further period of custody,” the judge said. “Until last night I was going to do so. I changed my sentencing reasons at about 11 p.m. last night — that is how close you came.”
Boy B pleaded guilty to sharing terrorist propaganda and was handed a 12-month youth referral order. The judge said he had not encouraged anyone to commit acts of terrorism, nor planned them himself, and that the boy had a “bright future.”
Boy B told the judge earlier: “I'm really sorry. I will never touch that aspect of belief in my life and I will stop anyone I can from even trying to touch it.”