A British teenager known to his schoolmates as “the terrorist” incited a Melbourne man to behead police officers on Anzac Day in the name of the Islamic State terror group, a Manchester court has heard.
The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, became radicalised online where he came under the influence of notorious Australian IS recruiter Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, also known as Neil Prakash, the court heard on Thursday.
The teen, who was 14 at the time of the offences and of Bangladeshi origin, is believed to be Britain’s youngest convicted terrorist.
In July, he pleaded guilty to inciting an 18-year-old Melbourne man to carry out a terror attack on Anzac Day and is facing sentencing before Justice John Saunders in the Manchester Crown Court.
The boy showed little emotion as he sat quietly with family members during sentencing submissions, wearing glasses, a grey shirt, and a black and white striped tie.
Prosecutor Paul Greaney said the boy plotted from the bedroom of his parents’ home in Blackburn, Lancashire, exchanging thousands of text messages with the alleged Melbourne jihadist.
He said their intention was that “police officers should be murdered by beheading” with the aim of promoting the ideology and agenda of IS.
The Melbourne man was to produce a martyrdom video after his proposed attack for use as propaganda by al-Cambodi, who had been key in bringing the two plotters together, Mr Greaney said.
He said police fortunately thwarted the plot, which in all probability could have led to a number of deaths.
The court was told the boy had been disruptive at school, where he had threatened to behead his teachers and was known as “the terrorist” by students because of his interest in radical Islamic extremism.
His threats brought him to the attention of police who searched his home, seized his smartphone and after encrypting the messages, uncovered the Melbourne plot and quickly alerted Australian police.
The Melbourne man is now before the courts in Australia.
The court heard the boy had suggested the man break into someone’s home and “get your first taste of beheading”.
Mr Greaney told the court the boy had come into contact with the Melbourne man through his online dealings with al-Cambodi (Prakash) who had in one IS video encouraged “lone-wolf” attacks within Australia, the very thing the boy had incited.
The prosecutor said the Melbourne man also knew Prakash and told the boy he had “offered him a list of Australian soldiers who had served in Iraq, so that he could kill them in their own homes”.
In their online messaging, the boy suggested three types of attack for the man to carry out on police on Anzac Day: by gun, knife or running over by car.
They settled on a knife attack and a photo was sent of a serrated “Rambo” style knife that the Melbourne man had allegedly concealed under the seat of his car.
In the messages, the boy urged the Melbourne man to ensure he was killed by police during his attack to “achieve his martyrdom”.
Defence lawyer James Pickup told the court the gravity and seriousness of the offences was not disputed and during the time they were committed, the boy was “certainly dangerous”.
But while in the secure unit where he was being held in northern England he had shown “considerable change” and was no longer dangerous.
He said the parents of the forthright and outspoken boy had separated in 2014, he had a degenerative eye condition and was not getting on with his teachers at school, all of this prompting him to feel isolated and marginalised.
“The void was filled when he went on his phone and accessed the ISIS propagandists.”
Mr Pickup said the boy felt accepted and “became a celebrity within that Twitter jihadi community” because of his knowledge of Islamic philosophy and history.
He said contact with IS recruiters like al-Cambodi (Prakash) assured the boy that what he was seeing online about IS “was justified within Islam”.
Justice Saunders will sentence the boy on Friday.