Teenager accused of preparing for Islamic State inspired terror attack says he didn’t mean martrydom vows
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A boy accused of preparing for an Isis-inspired terror attack when he was 14 years old has said he did not mean what he said in a series of extremist videos.
The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, said he had learned Islamist terminology from the dark comedy film Four Lions.
Giving evidence at Leicester Crown Court on Monday, he called videos where he claimed he would “carry out jihad” evil, adding: “I don’t mean what I said.”
The defendant allegedly tried to create “bottle bombs” and filmed himself setting out his wish to become a martyr and teaching others how to carry out their own attacks.
While being questioned by defence barrister Mary Prior QC on Monday, he denied planning to kill anyone or be martyred while “carrying out jihad”.
He said he had learned to make “bottle bombs” from a YouTube video and had picked up the term “kuffar”, to refer to non-Muslims, from the film Four Lions.
Questioning the teenager on his behaviour as a whole, Ms Prior said: “Why are you doing this?”
“I don’t really know,” the schoolboy replied, adding that he was upset by watching the “nasty” videos he made.
He is charged with preparing acts of terrorism after rapidly developing “extreme views” associated with Isis at the start of the year.
Opening the prosecution case, Anne Whyte QC said the boy had researched how to make different kinds of potentially deadly devices and had been experimenting with the idea of using shrapnel.
“This is an unusual case and it concerns the activities of a young person who, we will be suggesting, felt isolated and angry about his personal circumstances,” she added.
“In summary, it is said that, even though he was young, he had developed extremist views, radical views, associated with the terrorist organisation Islamic State. This probably happened in early 2020.”
The court heard that the boy carried out experiments in his bedroom in Eastleigh, Hampshire.
Officers who searched his home found the boy had put components and weapons inside a wardrobe fitted with an alarm system.
The teenager also allegedly possessed diagrams relating to improvised explosive devices, switches and detonators.
It is also alleged the defendant had researched and made basic drawings of a “dead man’s switch”, which enable bombers to detonate devices after being shot by police or incapacitated.
The court heard that he told a social worker he had converted to Islam in May, but that his online activity suggested it occurred several months before.
The boy is accused of creating a note on his iPhone in February, which was later deleted, calling for Muslims to follow Sharia law and calling Western culture a “cancerous tumour”.
The note said Isis would “rise again stronger” after its territorial defeat in Syria and Iraq, and “rape” the countries involved in fighting the terrorist group.
It called women “tools, an object to be used a sex slave” and lashed out at homosexuality, calling for the “extinction of the western race”.
Other notes referred to the former Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the court heard the boy had searched online for official Isis propaganda outlets.
The teenager denies one count of preparing acts of terrorism. The trial continues.