Lancashire

Anzac Day plot: UK's 'youngest terrorist' in identity bid

A court sketch of the sentencing hearing of a 15-year-old boy for terror offences Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption The teenager was convicted of inciting terrorism in October 2015

A teenager convicted of a terror plot to behead a police officer in Australia has begun a legal bid to have his identity protected for life.

The 15-year-old, from Blackburn, Lancashire, sent encrypted phone messages instructing an alleged jihadist to attack an Anzac Day parade.

Jailing him in 2015, the judge ordered that the boy's name be kept secret until he turned 18.

His bid to be granted lifetime anonymity will be heard in October.

The teenager became Britain's youngest terrorist when he was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court of inciting terrorism in October 2015.

The court heard how he hatched the plot when he was only 14 after being recruited on Twitter by an Islamic State propagandist, Abu Khaled al-Cambodi.

From his bedroom in Blackburn, the boy used a smartphone app to persuade 18-year-old Sevdet Besim to commit mass murder thousands of miles away.

'Risk of reprisals'

He told Besim to run over at least one police officer then behead him with a knife at the remembrance day parade in Melbourne.

Image caption The boy sent thousands of messages to Sevdet Besim in Australia

One message read: "Run cop, shank neck, then when all them gun police show up you go and try to attack them, don't look back expect a bullet inside you."

The pair would "in all probability" have succeeded had British police not accessed material on the boy's phone and alerted Australian police, the court heard.

The boy was sentenced to life imprisonment and told by the judge he would only be released when no longer considered dangerous.

The BBC understands his lawyers will argue that naming the teenager would create a serious risk of reprisals or that his rehabilitation would be affected.

Lochlinn Parker, of ITN Solicitors, said his client has been granted an interim injunction preventing his identity being made public before a hearing at the High Court in October.

Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption A knife and a phone containing a martyrdom message were found at Besim's house

Anzac Day, held on 25 April each year, commemorates Australian and New Zealand personnel killed in conflicts - and in 2015, marked the centenary of the World War One battle in Gallipoli.

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