A 14-year-old schoolboy from a Derbyshire village has avoided a jail sentence after he set up a neo-Nazi chat group encouraging fellow teenagers to launch a terrorist attack on Dover.
The youth, who cannot be named because of his age, discussed with another teenager how he wanted to bomb London because it “isn’t English”.
He had set up and managed a channel called the British Hand on Telegram, claiming it was the “ultra-nationalist answer to Black Lives Matter”.
He vetted like-minded individuals before allowing them entry to private chat groups where he talked about “doing something” against ethnic minorities, Alistair Richardson, prosecuting, told the court.
He downloaded a “leader board” of far-right killers and told members of one far-right group that he wanted to go down to his local skatepark and launch an attack.
Arrested by police, he denied he was planning an attack against the “Dover coast” and said the online post must have been made by a “psychopath”.
Now aged 16, he admitted one offence of encouragement of terrorism, one of dissemination of a terrorist publication and one offence of possessing information useful for terrorism at Westminster Youth Court.
Mark Luckett, defending the boy, said he had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and lacked maturity.
The offences occurred during the first national lockdown when he spent a “concerning amount of time online”.
Addressing Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring, the youth said he wanted to go to university to study veterinary medicine or zoology.
“I don’t hold those views and I don’t know how I got to hold those views. That’s not the person I am,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in my bedroom doing nothing. I think I need to be a normal child again.”
Mr Goldspring told him his views were “seemingly entrenched” but he had been persuaded not to pass a custodial sentence because of the youth’s lack of maturity and vulnerability and “urges from yourself that you are remorseful and will not re-offend”.
Handing him a 24-month youth referral order, the chief magistrate added: “I cannot emphasise enough how close you came to a further period of custody and until last night I was going to do so, but I changed my mind at 11pm last night, that is how close you came.
“If you breach the order by not complying all bets are off again and you face the almost certainty of an immediate custodial term.”