Teenager detained for downloading 'mischief' terror manual

A teenager with a previous conviction for making a pipe bomb found in his Nazi memorabilia-filled bedroom has been detained in a young offenders institution for a terror offence.

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 3:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th July 2018, 5:02 pm
Jack Coulson, 19, who was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court to four years and eight months detention in a young offender institution for possessing a document for terrorist purposes. Photo credit: Counter Terrorism Policing North East/PA Wire

Jack Coulson was convicted by a jury of constructing the device last year, and was given a youth rehabilitation order.

In a separate prosecution, the 19-year-old admitted possessing a document or record for terror purposes, namely The Big Book Of Mischief, between January 4 and 19.

Prosecutors allege he downloaded the manual shortly after boasting to people in an approved hostel about wanting to kill a female MP, an incident which led to a police interview but no further charge.

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Leeds Crown Court heard how the 60-page manual, downloaded to the defendant's phone, seeks to "demonstrate the techniques and methods used in a number of countries to make hazardous devices".

It was also claimed that the document provides information on the chemicals needed to build weapons, as well as practical advice on detonators, handguns and rockets.

Further searches of his phone uncovered references to proscribed right-wing group National Action, as well as audio recordings of people screaming in the aftermath of gunshots and internet searches for Timothy McVeigh, the American terrorist who carried out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing which led to the deaths of 168 people.

Sentencing Coulson to four years and eight months in a young offenders institution, Judge Marson QC told the teenager on Thursday: "Time and time again you were a given a chance in relation to the previous offence.

"Help was repeatedly given, but you continued to breach the order that was given to you.

"You are unable to address the very real problems which you have in relation to your right-wing views."

David Temkin, prosecuting, claimed the teenager continues to hold "an active interest in far-right political views and violence", and had a note in his house which read: "They are not going to cure me of my views."

Mr Temkin added that, during a police interview, Coulson had described Adolf Hitler as his "leader" and said he identified as a "National Socialist".

Discussing the teenager's "extreme social isolation", Kate O'Raghallaigh, defending, said: "His belief system and expressed opinions, unpalatable as they are, bear no relevance to the sentence that Your Honour should pass."

She added there was no evidence that the defendant accessed the manual more than once or that he was intending to carry out any further offences.

Coulson was not named in reports of his pipe-bomb trial in early 2017 after the court banned his identification because he was 17 at the time.

The judge in that trial, Mr Justice Goss, said Coulson's "perverted" views led to him proclaiming Thomas Mair, the man who murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, to be a hero.

The jury heard how Coulson's bedroom was filled with Nazi symbols, including flags bearing the swastika and the symbol of the Waffen SS.

However, the teenager told the court he never intended to use the pipe bomb. He was convicted of constructing the explosive device but cleared of a terrorism offence.

He was given a youth rehabilitation order to last for three years, which was revoked as part of the sentencing for his latest offence at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday.

Prosecutors said that, while attending preventative intervention programmes, Coulson dressed in camouflage and claimed "all Jews should be exterminated".

Following Thursday's sentencing, a spokesman for Counter Terrorism Policing North East said Coulson's phone search history "indicated an interest in National Action, Nazism and White Jihad."

Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson said the case "highlights the dangers of material that is readily available on the internet".

He added: "Searching for and storing information of this nature has the potential to put the safety of others at risk and will not go unprosecuted. In the wrong hands, it could have serious consequences."