LONDON: A British teenager was found guilty of plotting to drive a car into a crowd in the Welsh capital Cardiff, with a Justin Bieber concert and a shopping centre among the list of possible targets for his Daesh-inspired attack.
The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, wrote a letter in which he said he was “a soldier of [Daesh]”.
Police found the letter in a rucksack in his bedroom which also contained a large knife and a hammer.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said he was planning an attack of a similar type to one near Britain’s parliament in March, where a man in a van drove into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge before stabbing a policeman.
“This teenager’s behaviour over many months leaves no doubt that he intended to kill and maim as many people as possible in an attack reminiscent of the incident on Westminster Bridge,” said Sue Hemming, head of the special crime and counter-terrorism division at the CPS.
“He was also posting extremist content online that could have encouraged others to commit terrorist acts and downloading instructions on how to carry out ‘lone wolf’ attacks.”
The Westminster attack was one of five major attacks this year that British authorities are treating as terrorist incidents. Five people including the policeman and the attacker, Khalid Masood, died in the Westminster incident.
The CPS said the Welsh schoolboy had posted Daesh propaganda on his Instagram account, and his Instagram password was “Truck Attack”. He researched possible targets including Cardiff Castle, a theatre, a library and a shopping centre, as well as the Bieber gig, which took place in June.
The teenager admitted that he owned the knife and hammer and had written the letter, but denied intending to harm anyone. He said that he was not intending to act, insisting to the court that he had a “stupid interest in the gory” and “never thought about actually” carrying out an attack.
“I wanted to see how easy it was for people who had an interest in terrorism to go online and get information because the police and the government are trying to crack down on terrorism and radicalisation. I wanted to see if it was possible, not for me but from someone else’s point of view.”
He will be sentenced in January.