A 15-year-old British boy who plotted to behead police officers at an Anzac Day parade in Australia has been sentenced to life.
The Blackburn teen, who the judge ruled will remain anonymous due to his age, will serve at least five years in custody for inciting terrorism.
He sent thousands of online messages to an alleged Australian jihadist, and was planning “a massacre”, the court heard.
He is believed to be the youngest Briton guilty of a terror offence.
The plot to murder a number of police officers at the parade in Melbourne earlier this year would “in all probability” have succeeded had British police not cracked the boy’s phone and alerted Australian police, the court had heard.
Anzac Day, held on 25 April each year, commemorates the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps’ World War One battle in Gallipoli, and this year marked its centenary.
Sentencing the teenager, who pleaded guilty to one count of inciting terrorism, the judge, Mr. Justice Saunders, said that the youth would have “welcomed the notoriety” had the plot succeeded.
Police found a wooden box labelled “Islamic State” in the boy’s bedroom.
The teenager – now Britain’s youngest convicted terrorist – comes from a “normal” family in Blackburn, Lancashire; he had a “typical relationship” with his mother who would drive him to any appointments.
But the picture that emerged when police searched his bedroom was far from normal. On the windowsill they found a wooden box labelled “Islamic State” in the way a teenager might carve out the name of a pop idol.
But it was what detectives found within encrypted messages that revealed Australia was just days away from experiencing a violent terrorist attack orchestrated by the schoolboy.