Loughborough teen terror accused 'asked teacher to choose gun'

Court drawing The boy was "inspired" by stories of mass killers, the court was told

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A teenager accused of planning a series of bomb and gun attacks asked a teacher which gun he would prefer to be shot with, a court has heard.

The 17-year-old's teacher said he took the comment as "an empty threat at the time".

He told jurors the boy looked at firearms on the internet while at school and referred to weapons used in the Columbine school shootings.

The boy, from Loughborough, denies terrorism offences.

He and two other 17-year-old boys have admitted possessing petrol bombs and component parts of pipe bombs.

'Atrocity' fear

The defendant's former teacher told the Old Bailey: "He was aware I'm a chemistry teacher.

Start Quote

He was encouraging me to look at the guns and make some sort of judgment about whether it was a good gun”

End Quote Chemistry teacher

"He also liked to ask about explosives which I did not get involved with because I do not want to be the one to teach someone how to commit an atrocity."

The boy was first arrested when he was 16 after being found with a machete, the jury was told.

Police later found a stockpile of weapons while searching his home, the court heard.

The prosecution has accused the teenager of planning a terror attack on his former school, as well as naming his sixth form college, a local mosque, cinema and council offices as potential targets.

His teacher told jurors: "He was encouraging me to look at the guns and make some sort of judgment about whether it was a good gun.

"He asked me which gun I would prefer to be shot with.

"The message - which I took as an empty threat at the time - was he was considering a shooting."

The teacher said the student would launch "tirades" against particular religions, aiming his abuse mainly at the Muslim and Jewish faiths, as well as targeting a pupil with German grandparents.

When searching the boy's home, police found newspaper stories about Raoul Moat and Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, and a book called Spree Killers.

The book included a note from the defendant which read "some of the people in this book have inspired me", the jury was told.

'Decent guy'

In the week before his arrest in February, the boy wrote on Facebook chat: "I think I want to do it next April," the court heard.

He named his former school and a teacher as targets, before adding that he wanted "to take some Muslims down", the prosecution said.

Among 11,000 Facebook chat messages, the teenager also discussed creating "smoke-nades" with table tennis balls and making "acid-filled condoms" with a friend, the jury was told.

An interview with one of the defendant's former school friends was also played to the jury.

He told police the teenager was initially "a nice, decent guy" but then "through the year he started acting up".

The witness said he reported the defendant after he started using racist language towards his Asian friends in May last year.

"He was saying I wasn't British because my family wasn't born here," he told police.

The defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies a charge of possessing items for the purpose, preparation and instigation of an act of terrorism.

He also denies one count of possessing a document or record containing information likely to be useful for a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, and a further count of possessing explosives.

The trial continues.

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