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Baby-faced teenage terrorist came within hours of attack on Justin Bieber concert, judge says
From the Telegraph and the Daily Mail
A baby-faced teenage terrorist who was radicalised in his bedroom came within hours of an attack on a Justin Bieber concert, a judge has said. Lloyd Gunton, 17, who was arrested hours before he intended to commit mass murder in a vehicle attack, was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 11 years.
A judge allowed his identity to be published for the first time as he was detained.
The teenager, who suffers from an autism spectrum disorder, was convicted of preparing for terrorist acts after a nine-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court last November.He armed himself with a hammer and knife and wrote a so-called martyrdom letter as part of his plan to attack and kill "non-believers" on the streets of Cardiff.
Ordering Gunton to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure, Judge Mark Wall QC told the former A-level student: "The police found a rucksack in your room which contained a knife, a hammer and what has been referred to as a suicide note or a martyrdom letter. In the martyrdom letter you referred to yourself as a 'Soldier of Isis'. The letter was written in such terms that it was obviously to be found and read after you had carried out a terrorist attack."
The judge described the items found in the rucksack as a "terrorist's kit" and said it was clear from Instagram posts in English and Arabic that Gunton had planned to launch an attack on June 30.
The judge told the teenager: "I sentence you on the basis that at the time of your arrest you were within hours of committing an act of atrocity on the streets of Cardiff. It is clear that Cardiff was your target. . . I am sure that you planned not just the killing of one person but rather mass murder. In my judgment I must pass an indeterminate sentence. Your actions show a total disregard for human life. I cannot foresee a time when I can be confident that your danger will have ended or decreased sufficiently to enable me to pass a determinate or extended sentence."
The teenager was also convicted of two counts of encouraging terrorism by posting extremist material on Instagram, and two charges of possessing Isis propaganda magazines.
At the start of Gunton's trial it emerged that he had written a note apparently for distribution after his death reading: "I am a soldier of the Islamic State and I have attacked Cardiff today because your government keep on bombing targets in Syria and Iraq.There will be more attacks in the future."
Another of the boy's online posted was captioned: 'Oh my Islamic state brothers you are the role models of these worlds. The attack on Cardiff will be deadly. May the infidels be hit by vehicles and in the name of Allah may the blood be shed of non-believers. Stop bombing the homeland Theresa May. May Allah bring terrorism to Cardiff on June 30, 2017.'
Gunton showed no obvious emotion in the dock as he was told that his autism, young age and previous good character had saved him from an even longer minimum term.
The judge told the teenager the "usual range" of minimum sentences for someone convicted of similar offences was 21 to 30 years. . . the judge said of Gunton's diagnosis of autism: "This condition made you something of a loner and someone more easily impressed by the things you read on the internet. Yours is not a condition from which you will recover. It is important that, having been tempted to commit a serious offence such as this, you are under some form of supervision for the rest of your life."
The head of the Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit (WECTU) said he hoped the life sentence would serve as a deterrent to others at risk of radicalisation online.
'The CPS presented overwhelming evidence that he was prepared to die for Daesh's extremist worldview and he must now face the consequences of his actions.'
During the course of the trial, Matthew Brook, prosecuting, said: 'His interest in suicide evolved over time into an intention to commit a suicide attack in the name of Islam