A teenager who declared Adolf Hitler was his hero and offered to build weapons for people online has been jailed for terrorism offences.
Paul Dunleavy had joined an online extreme right wing group in 2019 and was found to have videos of terror attacks from across the globe on his mobile phone, as well as documents on firearms, explosives and military tactics.
When police searched the 17-year-old’s bedroom they found knives, air rifles, face coverings, camouflage face paint, shotgun cartridges and bullet casings.
A notebook was also seized containing swastikas, details of lone wolf attacks and a mocked up logo representing an extreme right group he wanted to form.
Dunleavy, from Rugby, who can be named after a judge ruled it was in the public’s interest to know his identity, was today sentenced to five-and-a-half years for collecting terrorism information and the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorism.
He admitted nine counts of collecting terrorism information under section 58 of the Terrorism Act and last month a jury found him guilty of the commission, preparation and instigation of terrorism under section 5 of the Terrorism Act.
During the trial, the court heard how he had become a member of the online extreme right wing group Feuerkrieg Division (FKD) in July 2019 and started several virtual conversations where he expressed his extreme tight-wing views and indicated he was planning or had already converted a blank firing weapon into a viable firearm.
When detectives seized his phone they found over 90 documents on firearms, explosives and military tactics, online material with an extreme right wing rhetoric, as well as the online chat conversations.
Eleven clips of the New Zealand attacks in Christchurch mosques in March 2019 were also found on his phone together with the shooting in El Paso, Texas, in August 2019 and the attacks at the Dayton and Garlic festival and the Anders Breivik attack in Norway.
A search of the teen’s bedroom – who declared his heroes as Adolf Hitler and American Neo-Nazi James Mason – revealed several knives, air rifles, face coverings, camouflage face paint, shotgun cartridges and bullet casings, numerous tools and camping equipment as well as two makeshift cardboard targets.
Sentencing Dunleavy at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, Judge Paul Farrer QC accepted the boy’s autism had led to “an obsessional interest in firearms”.
He added an episode in Dunleavy’s past could have led to “feelings of social isolation”.
He said Dunleavy had then “retreated into an online world” and “sought out and read extremist right-wing literature”.
“In that world, you adopted radical right-wing views,” the judge said.
‘Unhealthy interest’ in terror attacks
Head of West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, Detective Chief Superintendent Kenny Bell, said: “This boy had an unhealthy interest in other attacks across the world and he knew exactly what online platforms to join to share his extreme views.
“He believed he had the skills to convert a blank firing weapon into a viable firearm and was willing to help others with his abilities.”
DCS Bell highlighted the commitment by counter terrorism policing to tackle all forms of extremist ideology.
“We have seen many convictions over the last few years in connection with extreme right wing terrorism and this work continues apace. These extreme groups have the potential to threaten public safety and security.
“We work tirelessly to counter terrorism. Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety and security of the people who live, work and visit the West Midlands area.”
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