A 15 year old British teenager has been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of five years behind bars, after planning to behead police in an alleged terrorist attack on Anzac Day earlier this year.
The boy from Blackburn, Lancashire — who was then 14 — had been groomed by Australian extremist propagandists online and had plotted a “massacre” and suicide attack on police from his bedroom.
Two months ago he plead guilty to inciting terrorism overseas, making him the youngest convicted terrorist in Britain.
The Muslim teen, of Bangladeshi heritage, was one of five men arrested over the planned ANZAC Day terrorism attack in Melbourne after Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police executed a major joint counter terrorism operation in April.
According to reports by Fairfax, with the assistance of Australian Islamic State recruiter Neil Prakash — who goes by the jihadist name Abu Khaled al-Cambodi — the British teen made contact with 18-year-old Melbourne man Sevdet Besim.
The pair reportedly exchanged around 3000 encrypted messages over the course of nine days, in which the teen “gave Besim a choice between Hijrah (joining ISIS in Syria) or an attack in his own country”.
Together they planned an attack on police officers, to be killed by a car or by beheading, with Anzac Day “chosen for the killings because of its importance to Australia and its people,” Judge Saunders told Manchester’s Crown Court.
“(The boy) suggested that the killer should find a lonely person, break into his or her house and behead the person to get some practice before the planned attack. The attack was intended to end with the killer killing himself.”
Authorities from the UK and Australia eventually intervened and arrested the teen at his home on March 25.
“Had the authorities not intervened, [the defendant] would have continued to play his part, hoping and intending that the outcome would be the deaths of a number of people,” Saunders said.
The British teenager will spend the next three years of his life sentence at a youth custody facility.
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