Teenage boy made homemade bombs during lockdown, court hears

A 14-year-old boy developed extreme views influenced by the so-called Islamic State and attempted to make homemade bombs during the coronavirus lockdown, a court heard.

The defendant, who is now 15 and cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly filmed homemade videos telling viewers how he would “carry out Jihad” and “become a martyr”, as well as creating notes on his iPhone which said “women are tools, an object to be used… a sex slave”.

Leicester Crown Court heard he researched rudimentary homemade items to make basic bombs and added some to his mother’s Amazon wish-list.

Prosecutors allege the Hampshire teenager made bottle bombs in his wardrobe – adding that notes on his phone had been found with the words: “The extinction of the western race and ethnic cleansing of the colonised land stolen by the western plague.”

Jurors heard how the boy had searched an article about Islamic State beheading 21 Christians and another about an attack claimed by Islamic State on churches in Indonesia.

Opening the case against the defendant, prosecutor Anne Whyte QC said the teenager added Islamic State songs and the group’s flag to his homemade videos – with one of the clips played to the jury on Tuesday.

The defendant held his head in his hands as the video was played to the court.

Ms Whyte said: “This is an unusual case and it concerns the activities of a young person who, we will be suggesting, felt isolated and angry about his personal circumstances. As you have just heard, he is facing an allegation of preparing acts of terrorism. In summary, it is said that, even though he was young, he had developed extremist views, radical views, associated with the terrorist organisation, Islamic State. This probably happened in early 2020, so this year.”

During her opening, Ms Whyte told the jury how the defendant had added “rusty screws” and “shrapnel” to his homemade bottle bombs – the result of which had made burn marks in his wardrobe.  “He made a video setting out his wish to be a martyr, again, we say, influenced by propaganda from Islamic State.”

The prosecution alleged the teenager told viewers of his videos how to make bombs in order to “support our brothers and sisters at the Gaza Strip”. 

The teenager, from Eastleigh, denies one count of preparing acts of terrorism. The trial, expected to last two weeks, continues.