Teenager accused of planning repeat Columbine massacre faces retrial

 

A teenager accused of planning a “Columbine-style” attack on his former school will face a re-trial after an Old Bailey jury were unable to reach verdicts on two terrorism charges.

The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was accused of storing weapons for an assault on his former school in Loughborough, Leicestershire, as well as naming a sixth-form college, a local mosque, cinema and council offices as potential targets.

Police discovered the stockpile of weapons including petrol bombs, pistols, knives and armour after searching the defendant's bedroom in February after reports he had confronted two schoolboys with a knife.

Recorder of London Judge Brian Barker QC discharged the jury of six men and women today following six days of deliberation.

The Old Bailey trial heard that the youth allegedly recorded his plans for The New Columbine in a Che Guevara notebook emblazoned with Nazi swastikas.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered one teacher and 12 students at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 before committing suicide in one of America's worst mass shootings.

The teenager, who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome following his arrest in February, denied a charge of possessing items for the purpose, preparation and instigation of an act of terrorism.

He claimed he had not intended to hurt anyone and his notebook contained "jottings, not actual plans", the trial heard.

The boy also denied one count of possessing a document or record - the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook - which contained information likely to be useful for a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

A hearing will take place at the Old Bailey on 12 December to set a date for a retrial.

The boy 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.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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