LONDON (AP) — A 17-year-old boy accused of planning a series of gun and bomb attacks on his former school was inspired by mass shooting sprees, including the one at Colorado's Columbine High School in 1999, a prosecutor said Thursday.
The teenager, who could not be named for legal reasons, is charged with planning terror attacks on the school and other local targets in Leicestershire in central England. Speaking at the boy's trial, prosecutor Max Hill said the teenager kept a book called "Spree Killers" and had noted down the number of people killed at Columbine and by Anders Behring Brevik in Norway in 2011.
Hill added that Facebook chat records showed the boy claimed he wanted to "take some Muslims down" and named a local mosque, a cinema, and government offices in the town of Loughborough as potential targets.
The defendant, who has Asperger's Syndrome, was arrested in February after being found with a machete. Police searching his home later found weapons, including ammunition, partially-assembled gasoline bombs and other explosives. He denies terrorism offenses but has admitted possessing bomb parts.
"He denied he had anything other than a genuine interest in the Columbine massacre," Hill said. Testifying at a London court, a science teacher at the boy's school said the defendant looked at guns online while he was at school and asked for advice about firearms and making explosives.
"He was encouraging me to look at the guns and make some sort of judgment about whether it was a good gun," said the teacher, who also could not be named to protect the identity of the teenager. "He asked me which gun I would prefer to be shot with."
The teacher and another witness, a former friend of the accused, added that the boy was known to launch tirades abusing people of Muslim and Jewish faiths.