Two teenage boys are found guilty of plotting massacre at their school

‘If this is found I have committed one of the worth atrocities in British history’: Chilling message found in teen’s notebook as two 15-year-olds who idolised Columbine killers are convicted of plotting school massacre

  • Two  boys have been convicted of conspiracy to murder at Leeds Crown Court
  • The teenagers had planned to ‘shoot up’ their school in Northallerton 
  • Summing up the case for the prosecution on Monday, Paul Greaney QC said that their plans amounted to ‘real-life intent’ rather than ‘childish fantasy’ 

Two teenage boys who hero-worshipped the Columbine killers have been found guilty of plotting to massacre students and teachers at their school.

The teenagers had planned to ‘shoot up’ their school in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. 

The judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, told the pair they will be sentenced at a later date when she has considered reports about them both.

Pictured: The contents of a rucksack was found by officers searching the older boy’s hideout

Chilling: A page of a diary kept by the older boy in which he discussed his motivations for wanting to carry out a mass shooting 

She told the jury: ‘Nobody will be in any doubt as to the gravity of their conduct and the plans they have made.’

She said it was an ‘unusual case’ but told the jury the ‘welfare of young people’ was the primary concern of the sentencing system.

Summing up the case for the prosecution on Monday, Paul Greaney QC said that their plans amounted to ‘real-life intent’ rather than ‘childish fantasy’. 

During his speech at Leeds Crown Court, he claimed that the older of the two defendants had ‘revelled’ in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, which saw 12 students and a teacher killed.


A bottle containing flammable liquid that was found by officers searching the older boy’s hideout discovered in a rucksack full of equipment, which prosecutors claimed were instruments for building an explosive 

Mr Greaney claimed that the teenagers who were responsible for that attack, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, had left clues as to what was to come, such as internet searches for weaponry and, on Harris’s part, a journal ‘espousing a far right-wing ideology’.

Parallels were drawn with evidence that was found in relation to the two friends, including a diary written by the older of the pair which reflected a ‘homicidal state of mind’.

Two teenage boys have been convicted of conspiracy to murder at Leeds Crown Court after plotting a Columbine-inspired shooting at their school.

A chat between the two defendants where the older boy suggests they should ‘shoot up the school’

‘No one innocent will die’: The younger boy tells a schoolgirl about the details of the plan

Questioning why the boys had not come up to the witness box, Mr Greaney told jurors: ‘It is obvious that the prosecution case against each of the defendants is sufficiently strong to call for an answer from them, and there is no sensible reason for them not to give evidence other than that they cannot answer the prosecution’s case.’

Discussing what he would have asked the older of the two boys, he said: ‘Why did you write in your diary that you wanted to carry out a school shooting if that’s not what you intended?

‘Why did you write about being ‘godlike’ if that’s not how you see yourself?

‘Why, we would have asked, did you tell the police that you were disgusted by the Columbine massacre when actually you revelled in it?’

The court had previously heard how the younger of the two defendants had said during a police interview that, in contrast to his friend, he had no genuine intent to carry out a shooting.

The boy also claimed that he had informed another classmate and a teacher in a bid to stop his co-accused proceeding with the plan.

However, Mr Greaney told the jury how the same boy had made ‘clear and unvarnished confessions’ that he was central to the alleged plot, such as telling a girl details of the ‘secret’ in September 2017.

During his speech at Leeds Crown Court, Paul Greaney QC, claimed that the older of the two defendants had ‘revelled’ in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, which saw 12 students and a teacher killed

‘Perhaps it would be argued on behalf of (the younger defendant) that he would not have talked about it if the plan was real, but history is loaded with examples of such loose talk to people who did not believe it to be real or did not know what to do,’ the prosecutor said.

He added: ‘If what (the boy) is saying is true and he wanted it all to come out, why did he describe it as a ‘secret’?’

The defendants, who were 14 at the time of the alleged offences, denied a joint charge of conspiracy to murder, as well as alternative charges of intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence and encouraging or assisting an offence believing it would be committed.

The older boy denied unlawful wounding and aggravated burglary. 

The pair will be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on July 20.

Counter Terrorism Policing North East (North East CTU) claimed that both the boys had a ‘very real interest in violence’.

The court had previously heard how the younger of the two defendants had said during a police interview that, in contrast to his friend, he had no genuine intent to carry out a shooting

In a statement, Detective Superintendent Martin Snowden, the head of the North East CTU, said they were ‘very grateful’ to North Yorkshire Police for their assistance during the investigation.

‘There is no understating the severity of these offences and the potential implications had their plans not come to the attention of the authorities,’ Det Sup Snowden said. 

During the trial at Leeds Crown Court, jurors heard extracts from the older boy’s diary which outlined his ‘twisted ideology’.

The inside cover of the book, which was recovered from the teenager’s home in October 2017, reads: ‘Sorry if this is found I have committed one of the worst atrocities in British history or I killed myself.’

As well as professing his ‘love’ of murderers in the book, the boy also drew a picture of what prosecutors described as the ‘perfect school shooter’.

In one passage, the boy claimed: ‘Everyone is filthy and deserve to be shot, including me. I’ll play the role of god and decide who a let live and die.’

Elaborating on that alleged intention, he wrote in the diary: ‘I have a plan, a great f****** plan.’

Referring to carrying out a shooting with his then-girlfriend, he said: ‘I’ll make some explosives then we’ll find a way back to Northallerton and we’ll begin our assault on that f****** school.’

Another page is devoted to ‘stuff we need’ in order to execute a school shooting, including napalm, firearms and pipe bombs.

In other entries, the boy described the human race as a ‘vile species which needs to die out’ and humanity itself as ‘a curse and a burden’.

One extract reads: ‘We need to aid natural selection and help forward our species. Right now, it’s f*****, it’s all downhill. I love murderers.’

A picture of the book was shown to the court with the words ‘Helter Skelter’ written on the cover, a supposed nod to notorious murderer Charles Manson’s idea of an apocalyptic war arising from racial tensions. 

 

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