Bradford teen guilty who made pipe bomb in his bedroom is cleared of terror charge

Neo-Nazi Thomas Mair murdered Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox in June.
Neo-Nazi Thomas Mair murdered Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox in June.

A BRADFORD teenager who made a pipe bomb which was found in his Nazi memorabilia-filled bedroom has been cleared of preparing a terrorist act.

The 17-year-old was found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court of constructing the explosive device but not guilty of the terrorism offence he was charged with.

The teenager, who cannot be named, will be sentenced at a later date.

Trial judge Mr Justice Goss told the court he was concerned about “a very disturbing mindset in this young man and unusual and worrying behaviour”.

A week-long trial heard how the pipe bomb was found in a desk drawer in his Bradford bedroom after police were alerted through suspicious Snapchat messages.

Prosecutors said one of these messages was a cartoon-like image of a mosque being blown up along with the words: “It’s time to enact retribution upon the Muslim filth.”

Another was a picture of a pipe bomb with an image of the Bradford skyline and the message: “Incendiary explosive and home-made black powder. More to come.”

The jury heard how officers found the defendant’s bedroom covered in flags, including the swastika and the symbol of the Waffen SS as well as a laptop with wallpaper featuring a Nazi eagle over a swastika and the German phrase: “One Nation, One Empire, One Leader.”

But the teenager told the court he never intended to use the pipe bomb.

The blond-haired youth was found not guilty of a charge of preparing a terrorist act but guilty of making a pipe bomb.

He showed no emotion as he sat in the dock flanked by two security guards.

The judge refused an application for the teenager to be bailed before he is sentenced.

Rupert Bowers QC, defending, told the judge it was unlikely the sentence would exceed the time his client has already served in custody.

But the judge said he was concerned about what the police found in the teenager’s home and the views he was expressing.

During the trial, prosecutors took the jury through a number of social media postings and messages detailing what they said were the defendant’s racist, white-supremacist views.

Many related to his links with National Action, described as “a small, secretive neo-Nazi British youth nationalist organisation”.

The jury was also told the defendant celebrated the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox and proclaimed her murderer, Thomas Mair, as a hero.

Barnaby Jameson, prosecuting, told the jury the teenager made the pipe bomb as part of an “ideological war he was waging”.

But, after he was arrested, the teenager told police he had made the pipe bomb out of sparklers.

He said in a statement when interviewed: “I’ve simply been fooling around with fireworks and showing them off to my peers, in my naivety, I have never had the intention to cause any harm to any person.”

Mr Jameson opened the case by saying: “This was not, as the defence will suggest, a bad joke gone wrong. This was the opening stage of (the defendant’s) all-out race war and that is why the Crown leads its case with an allegation under the terrorism legislation.”

The defendant said in the witness box that he only posted a picture of the pipe bomb to see if he could get a reaction and then put it back in his drawer.

He said he did not plan to attack anybody.

The teenager was remanded in custody to be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on February 13.