A judge yesterday spared Britain’s youngest-ever convicted terrorist from jail, after the teenager led a neo-Nazi cell from his grandmother’s house.
Judge Mark Dennis handed the teenager, now 16, a 24-month youth rehabilitation order via video link, telling him to “put this behind you” and “redirect your future”.
The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, had pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of “terrorist” material.
He had been living with his grandmother in Cornwall in southwest England before his arrest in July 2019.
Cornwall police chief Jim Pearce said that the offender’s young age and his “quick progression” within an in international extremist group “brings into sharp focus the real and clear danger of online radicalisation”.
Aged just 13, the boy began seeking instructions for making explosives, later amassing information on how to make Molotov cocktails and napalm and build an AK47 assault rifle.
He expressed racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views on online forums and was photographed giving a Nazi salute.
Aged 14, in 2019 he became the British cell leader of a banned neo-Nazi group called the Feuerkrieg Division, which calls for lone wolf attacks.
He recruited five members including Paul Dunleavy, a 17-year-old from Rugby in central England who was jailed last year for five and a half years for terrorism offences.
Police searching the defendant’s home found Nazi paraphernalia and the number 1488 painted on a shed, a code used by neo-Nazis.
The judge said that mitigating factors included the fact that the defendant pleaded guilty, expressed remorse and was “susceptible to the influence of others”.
Previously in 2016 a 16-year-old in northern England became Britain’s youngest convicted Islamist terrorist.
He was convicted of plotting an Islamic State-inspired attack in Australia while aged 14 and sentenced to life with a minimum of five years in jail.