Judge spares UK’s ‘youngest terrorist’ from harsh prison sentence
In an unusual move, the Old Bailey has spared Britain’s youngest convicted terrorist from a lengthy jail sentence, even thought the defendant is committed to extreme far right ideologies and led a neo-Nazi cell online.
Instead, the defendant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was given a 24-month youth rehabilitation order by Judge Mark Dennis QC at the Old Bailey on Monday (February 08).
The exceptionally light sentence will inevitably raise questions and fuel speculation about double standards, especially as young Muslims (who have been accused of association with radical groups) have received much harsher sentences under similar circumstances.
The defendant had pled guilty to 12 offenses, two of dissemination of terrorist documents and 10 of possession of terrorist material.
The boy was just 13 when he obtained instructions for explosives.
At the age of 14, the defendant, from south-east Cornwall, accumulated a “stash” of terrorist material and shared far-right extremist ideology in online chatrooms.
The material reportedly included bomb-making instructions, ingredients for napalm, how to make Molotov cocktails, build an AK47 assault rifle and engage in knife combat.
To make matters worse, the youth also commissioned a poster showing an atom bomb cloud over Parliament emblazoned with the slogan “Sterilize the cesspit that you call London”.
The aspiring terrorist was sufficiently committed to far-right ideology that by the summer of 2019 he had become the UK cell leader of the so-called FKD – Feuerkrieg Division – a neo-Nazi group which glorifies mass murderers, including the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik.
Despite the wealth of evidence against the defendant, the Judge decided against incarceration on the grounds of the self-confessed terrorist’s “guilty plea, expression of remorse” and most controversially of all his apparent susceptibility to the “influence of others”.
In passing sentence, Judge Dennis asserted that custody would “undo the work that is already under way to rehabilitate” the youth.
In conclusion, Judge Dennis described the youthful defendant as “vulnerable” with an “abnormal childhood”.
Skeptics will point out that such compassion and leniency is rarely (if ever) shown to young Muslims who are often hauled before British courts on terrorism-related charges