Teen ‘plot­ted Bieber con­cert ter­ror at­tack’

Western Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Matthew Cooper Press As­so­ci­a­tion news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

A17-YEAR-OLD ac­cused of planning an Is­lamic State-in­spired ter­ror at­tack on the day of a Justin Bieber con­cert in Cardiff searched the in­ter­net for de­tails of the event’s se­cu­rity, a court has heard.

The teenager, who can­not be named be­cause of his age, was de­tained at his home by po­lice af­ter post­ing a pic­ture of Cardiff Cas­tle on In­sta­gram.

Of­fi­cers found a claw ham­mer, a kitchen knife and a “mar­tyr­dom let­ter” in his school ruck­sack.

Prose­cu­tors al­lege the boy was en­gaged in con­duct to pre­pare for an act of ter­ror­ism in the run-up to the con­cert on June 30 by con­duct­ing on­line re­search, ob­tain­ing weapons and pre­par­ing a sui­cide note.

Cardiff’s Cas­tle quar­ter is al­leged to have been re­searched by the boy us­ing Google Maps while other searches sought de­tails of a shop­ping cen­tre, the city’s Cen­tral Li­brary, and the New The­atre.

Fur­ther web searches pre­sented to the court in­cluded “ve­hi­cle mount­ing pave­ment” and “car ploughs through a crowd”.

Pros­e­cu­tor Matthew Brook asked the jury: “If the de­fen­dant was not planning a ter­ror­ist ve­hi­cle at­tack, what pos­si­ble le­git­i­mate rea­son was there for such a search? This, the Crown says,

is at­tack planning. Look­ing for places in Cardiff where there are go­ing to be lots of peo­ple you can at­tack.”

Open­ing the case against the teenager, who de­nies pre­par­ing to com­mit acts of ter­ror­ism and four other ter­ror charges, Mr Brook said a copy of a poster re­lat­ing to the con­cert was found on the de­fen­dant’s com­puter.

Tak­ing the jury through web searches con­ducted by the boy on June 28, Mr Brook told Birm­ing­ham Crown Court: “At 10.10pm there is this de­fen­dant search­ing ‘Justin Bieber Cardiff 2017’.

“As you are prob­a­bly all aware, Justin Bieber is a well-known pop star and he was hav­ing a large con­cert in Cardiff on June 30, two days af­ter this search.”

On June 29, the court heard, a me­dia file was cre­ated on the de­fen­dant’s com­puter show­ing a poster for the con­cert at Cardiff ’s Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium.

Ju­rors were told that the al­leged ter­ror­ist also searched for “Justin Bieber Cardiff se­cu­rity” on June 29.

Mr Brook said of the search: “This de­fen­dant is in­ter­ested in what the se­cu­rity will be for a large pub­lic event the fol­low­ing day.

“This is in con­text of course of all his searches, his threats on In­sta­gram about Cardiff be­ing at­tacked on the 30th, the knife and ham­mer in his bag, and of course the mar­tyr­dom let­ter as well.”

The court heard that the boy de­clared him­self a “soldier” of the so-called Is­lamic State in the hand­writ­ten let­ter.

It is also al­leged that he penned a note with bul­let points in­clud­ing “run down the non-be­liev­ers with a car” and “strike the in­fi­dels, who op­pose Al­lah, in the neck”.

Mr Brook said a note found in the boy’s bed­room read: “I am a soldier of the Is­lamic State.

“I have at­tacked Cardiff today be­cause your gov­ern­ment keep on bomb­ing tar­gets in Syria and Iraq. There will be more at­tacks in the fu­ture.”

The de­fen­dant, from Rhondda Cynon Taf, de­nies two counts of en­cour­ag­ing ter­ror­ism by post­ing images on In­sta­gram and two counts of pos­ses­sion of a record of ter­ror­ist in­for­ma­tion, namely an Isis pro­pa­ganda mag­a­zine.

The youth, from a white Bri­tish back­ground, was de­tained by po­lice on June 30.

Open­ing the case against the boy, Mr Brook told a jury of seven men and five women: “In this case, the ev­i­dence will prove that he be­came rad­i­calised over the in­ter­net.

“He had ter­ror­ist ma­te­rial stored on his com­puter, he pub­lished posts on In­sta­gram which en­cour­aged ter­ror­ism, and he was planning a ‘lone wolf ’ style at­tack in the name of Is­lam.”

The trial con­tin­ues.

> Se­cu­rity was tight on the day of Justin Bieber’s con­cert at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium

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