14-year-old boy one of youngest in UK to be convicted of terror charges

A 14-year-old schoolboy from Darlington has become one of the youngest people in the UK to be convicted of terror charges.

The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, appeared before Westminster magistrates court on Tuesday charged with possessing a terrorist publication.

He pleaded guilty to three offences contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He admitted possessing a record of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Police said the charges related to extreme rightwing terrorism.

The boy was arrested in July last year, when he was 13, as part of a pre-planned, intelligence-led operation led by officers from Counter-terrorism North East. He will next appear for sentencing on 1 April.

Before this case it is thought the youngest person convicted of a terror offence was a teenager from Blackburn jailed for inciting terrorism. The Blackburn boy, referred to as RXG, was jailed for life in October 2015 for convincing an Australian jihadist, Sevdet Besim, then 18, to plot an attack in Melbourne on Anzac Day.

A court heard that RXG, then 14, exchanged from his bedroom more than 3,000 encrypted messages with Besim, encouraging him to behead police officers guarding an Anzac Day event. Australian police foiled the plot.

The court heard how RXG had been radicalised by online Islamic State propaganda.

Last year the Parole Board ruled that RXG could be freed from prison under strict licence conditions. His identity will remain a secret for the rest of his life after a high court ruling in 2020.

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