Durham 'neo-Nazi' teen was seeking 'attention'

By Daniel De Simone
BBC News

  • Published
Manchester Crown CourtImage source, Google
Image caption,
The boy, who cannot be named due to his age, is on trial at Manchester Crown Court

A teenager accused of being a neo-Nazi who was preparing acts of terrorism said he adopted an online "persona" to create "shock and a sense of belonging".

The 16-year-old, from Durham, told Manchester Crown Court he never wanted to be a terrorist and that his views were "always centre-right".

He denies six terrorism offences.

The trial has heard he called himself as a "natural sadist" and listed potential targets.

Giving evidence, he said a diary entry in which he described himself as a fascist "just made me feel better".

Nigel Edwards QC, defending, asked what his views were in 2017 - a time when he was tweeting racist material under a pseudonym.

The boy replied "still around UKIP, centre-right beliefs" and that "the persona I put on for the Twitter account… was for shock and a sense of belonging".

He said internet searches for explosives were "general interest", that several relating to Nazis were for "school" and that he looked up how to make napalm out of "curiosity".

'Rebelling against society'

He told jurors he would not describe himself as a Nazi or neo-Nazi and that the motivations for his online activity were "attention and self-importance".

An anti-Semitic diary entry was him "imitating" a neo-Nazi book, the court was told.

"It made me feel better. Just controversial, rebelling against society in a way," he said.

The boy said he found Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf "boring" and that he only "pretended" to adopt the philosophy of the neo-Nazi text Siege - which jurors have been told directly encourages terrorism.

The teenager denies preparing terrorist acts, disseminating a terrorist publication, possessing an article for a purpose connected to terrorism, and three counts of possessing documents useful to a terrorist.

Jurors have previously heard the defendant was found with manuals on how to make bombs and ricin, had communicated with a gun auctioneer, and had written a list of local venues "worth attacking" such as pubs and schools.

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