A 17-year-old accused of planning an Islamic State-inspired terror attack on the day of a Justin Bieber concert searched the internet for details of the event’s security, a court has heard.
Prosecutors allege the boy, who is white and British, was engaged in conduct to prepare for an act of terrorism in the run-up to the concert on June 30 by conducting online research, obtaining weapons and preparing a suicide note.
Opening the case against the teenager, who denies preparing to commit acts of terrorism and four other terror charges, prosecutor Matthew Brook said a copy of a poster relating to the concert was found on the defendant’s computer.
Taking the jury through web searches conducted by the boy on June 28, Mr Brook told Birmingham Crown Court: ‘At 10.10pm there is this defendant searching ‘Justin Bieber Cardiff 2017’.
The 17-year-old, from the Rhondda Cynon Taf area of south Wales, was detained by police at his home after posting a picture of Cardiff Castle (pictured) on Instagram
‘As you are probably all aware, Justin Bieber is a well-known pop star and he was having a large concert in Cardiff on June 30, two days after this search.’
On June 29, the court heard, a media file was created on the defendant’s computer at the home he shared with his parents in rural South Wales showing a poster for the concert at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
Jurors were told that the alleged terrorist also searched for ‘Justin Bieber Cardiff security’ on June 29.
Mr Brook said of the search: ‘This defendant is interested in what the security will be for a large public event the following day.
‘This is in context of course of all his searches, his threats on Instagram about Cardiff being attacked on the 30th, the knife and hammer in his bag, and of course the martyrdom letter as well.’
Earlier in the day the court had been told by the judge, Mark Wall QC, told the jury that they would be having regular breaks because the defendant is only 17-years-old and has difficulty concentrating.
Mr Brook told the jury that though the boy ‘does not look like how you expected a terrorist to look like’, the evidence proved he had been ‘radicalised’ over the internet.
He was planning a ‘lone wolf-style attack in the name of Islam’, according to Mr Brook.
The jury was read the suicide note which said: ‘I am a soldier of the Islamic State and I have attacked Cardiff today because your government keep on bombing Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq. There will be more attacks in the Future.’
It then had ‘Cardiff’ and 26th June 2017, with the 26th crossed out and under neath, the words: ‘Run down the non-believers with a car; strike the infidels who oppose Allah in the neck; attack the emergency services who are also non-believers.
The teenager denies preparing to commit acts of terrorism by engaging in online research into attack planning at Birmingham Crown Court (pictured)
‘IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, may Terrorism greet your country, May there be more bombings and vehicle attacks with Allahs permision [sic]. Allah Akbar [god is great].’
Mr Brook asked the jury: ‘Why would he have written such a letter? Because if you are going to commit a terrorist attack in which you presume you will die – because armed police will come and shoot you – you need people to know afterwards why you did it. It’s a way of spreading the terror and the message of terror.’
The jury were shown a composite image the boy had posted on Instagram showing Cardiff Castle, a Jeep, a knife and the black flag of ISIS.
He had also posted images of Anis Amri, the Berlin market attacker from December 2016, and the lorry he used, and of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the Nice Lorry attacker from July 2016, and the vehicle he used.
In a statement he had written: ‘Oh my Islamic State brothers you are the role models of these worlds. The attack in Cardiff will be deadly. Oh British government, one day your country will be dominated by sharia law and anyone who refuses Islam or disbelieves in Allah will be executed.
‘May the infidels get hit by vehicles and in the name of Allah, the blood will flow like rivers. Stop bombing the homeland Theresa May.
‘To my Islamic state brothers in European countries, attack the non-believers with your trucks, knives, remember this is for the all mighty Allah. May Allah bring terrorism to Cardiff on 30th June 2017.’
When police raided his home on June 30 this year, they asked him if he had an Instagram account and he told them the account name was ‘Islamic State – al-Qaeda’ and the account password was ‘Truck attack.’
His mobile phone had a Youtube webpage loaded onto it playing a video called ‘British Islamic Extremists’ playing, a documentary which included clips of people praising those who carried out terrorist attacks.
On his laptop, police found an edition of the ISIS propaganda magazine Rumiyah, which included an article under the heading ‘Just terror tactics’ about which knife to use in an attack, and where to stab a person to cause maximum damage.
It also advised: ‘Lest the operation be mistaken for one of the many random acts of violence that plague the West, it is essential to leave some kind of evidence or insignia, identifying the motive and allegiance to the Khilfah [Caliphate], even if it is something as simple as a note pinned or attached to the victim’s body or a final testament if the operation will be of a nature where the expected outcome is one’s shahadah [martyrdom].’
When he was taken to a police station in Wales, the boy told the police that he had been talking to someone on Instagram for about a week and that person had told him he would go to hell because he did not believe in Islam.
He named the person as ‘al-Baghdadi’ and said he had told him he needed to do an act of terrorism if he wanted to go to paradise.
He accepted that he had posted material on Instagram about an attack on Cardiff, but claimed he did not mean for it to do any harm.
He had put the hammer and knife in his bag, but he claimed he had not intended to use them to attack anyone.
The boy is charged with planning a terrorist attack by carrying out online research, obtaining a knife and hammer, and writing a suicide note.
He allegedly encouraged terrorism by published an image of a black flag and text including the phrase ‘May Allah bring terrorism to Cardiff on 30th June 2017’ on an open Instagram page in the name ‘alqaeds’.
He also allegedly published an image and text titled ‘Just Terror Tactics – Truck Attacks’ on the same open Instagram page.
The boy also faces two charges of possessing editions two and three of the Isis propaganda magazine Rumiyah.
He denies the charges and the case continues.
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