Extreme Right-Wing Teenager Sentenced for Terror Offences 

Nov 13, 2023 | Right Wing Terrorism, Threat Analysis

Author: Oliver Hair ASyI,
Threat Analyst

Read Time: 3 minutes 

On 10 November 2023, a 17 year old who adhered to an Extreme Right-Wing ideology was sentenced to 10 years in prison for offences including plotting a terrorist attack against a mosque. The perpetrator had conducted hostile reconnaissance at a mosque in Keighley, contacted a UK-based individual in order to buy a weapon, and written a “detailed plan for carrying out a terrorist attack”.[1] Court records claim the individual planned to murder his girlfriend before attending the Markazi Jamia and Keighly Muhammedi Mosques disguised as an armed policeman to conduct an attack.[2] The individual reportedly “idolised” the perpetrator of the 2019 Christchurch attack, Brenton Tarrant, and had become “deeply interested” in Extreme Right-Wing ideology prior to his arrest.[3]

Event Assessment

    • It is highly likely that there is a significant threat posed by Extreme Right-Wing terrorism in the UK at this time.
      • It is likely that the Extreme Right-Wing terrorism threat has continued to evolve away from structured groups such as the proscribed organisation, National Action, to a more disparate online threat, further complicating the detection of affiliated actors and plots.
        •  It is almost certain that Extreme Right-Wing terrorist actors would have the capability to conduct a low-sophistication attack in the UK at this time. E.g., Bladed or Blunt Force Weapon, Vehicle as a Weapon, Fire as a Weapon, etc.
          •  It is highly likely that any Extreme Right-Wing terrorist attack would target sites and individuals associated with the UK government and minority groups with protected characteristics. E.g., LGBTQIA+, migrant communities, religious minorities, etc.
          •  As publicly accessible and highly visible symbols of the Islamic Faith, it is almost certain that terrorist actors in the UK would have the intent to conduct an attack against mosques. It is highly likely that any attack conducted against a mosque in the UK would be conducted by an individual inspired by an Extreme Right-Wing ideology.
            • Extreme Right-Wing terrorists have previously demonstrated the intent and capability to conduct attacks against mosques and minority communities in the UK. For example, in 2017, an Extreme Right-Wing terrorist conducted a Vehicle as a Weapon attack against worshippers leaving Finsbury Park Mosque, London. There was one fatality, and 11 others were injured.[4]
              • It is almost certain that those aged 18 years old or younger will remain at risk of radicalisation in the long term as a result of the continued proliferation of easily accessible extremist content online. One in six people arrested on suspicion of terror offences in Britain between June 2022 and 2023 was under 18 years old. Most offences involved viewing or sharing terrorist propaganda and the majority of cases have reportedly been associated with an Extreme Right-Wing ideology.[5]
                •  There have been no cases of a successful terrorist attack conducted by a child or teenager in the UK as the UK police and security services continue to demonstrate the ability to disrupt late-stage terrorism plots. However, children and teenagers have previously demonstrated the intent to conduct terrorist attacks in the UK, including:
                  •  2023 – London – An Islamist inspired terrorist was sentenced to life in prison for planning to commit a terrorist attack in London. During the plotting stage, the individual had been found to be recording police officers at railway stations in the UK.[6]
                  • 2023 – Derbyshire – A 19-year-old was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years in jail for encouraging terrorism and possessing material for terrorist purposes. The individual had previously praised the 2019 terrorist attacks in New Zealand and his content had been commented on and referenced by the man who murdered 10 people in a racially motivated attack in Buffalo, US, in 2022.[7]
                  • 2022 – Isle of Wight – A 15-year-old was charged for the preparation of terrorist acts. The individual was allegedly plotting a terror attack at the Isle of Wight Festival.[8]
                  • 2022 – Darlington – A 14-year-old was convicted for possessing information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. The teenager had reportedly been active on racist online forums and allegedly possessed manuals for making explosives.[9]

                Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 13 November 2023

                  PHIA Scale

                  The “Probability Yardstick” (below) is a standardised instrument used to provide professional intelligence assessments. Judgements made using the yardstick are relative and reflect the analyst’s confidence in their findings and assessments.

                    • Almost Certain: An event is assessed to have a greater than 90% chance of occurring.
                    • Highly Likely: An event is assessed to have a 76% to 90% chance of occurring.
                    • Likely: An event is assessed to have a 55% to 75% chance of occurring.
                    • Realistic Possibility: An event is assessed to have a 40% to 54% chance of occurring.
                    • Unlikely: An event is assessed to have a 25% to 39% chance of occurring.
                    • Highly Unlikely: An event is assessed to have an 10% to 24% chance of occurring.
                    • Remote Chance: An event is assessed to have a less than 10% chance of occurring.

                    Time Spans

                      • Short Term: 0 – 6 Months.
                      • In the next 12 months.
                      • Medium Term: 12 months – 5 Years.
                      • Long Term: 5+ Years.

                  Author: Oliver Hair ASyI,
                  Threat Analyst

                  Read Time: 3 minutes

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