Blackburn teenager charged over ‘bid to incite beheading’
A 14-YEAR-OLD boy from Blackburn will appear in court today after allegedly inciting a beheading in connection with a terrorism plot in Australia.
The boy, whom police linked to a plot at the country’s ANZAC Day memorial ceremonies after they discovered alleged communications between him and a man in Australia, has been charged with two offences.
Deborah Walsh, deputy head of counter terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Following an investigation by police in the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, we have authorised charges for a 14-year-old male of two offences of inciting terrorism overseas, contrary to section 59 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
“The first allegation is that, between 15 and 26 March 2015, the defendant incited another person to commit an act of terrorism, namely to carry out an attack at an ANZAC parade in Australia with the aim of killing and/or causing serious injury to people.
“The second allegation is that on 18 March 2015, the defendant incited another person to behead someone in Australia.
“The decision to prosecute has been taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.”
The teenager, believed to be from Audley, Blackburn, was charged following an investigation by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit and Lancashire police.
A Greater Manchester police spokesman added: “A 14-year-old boy who can’t be named for legal reasons has been charged with two counts of inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism overseas.
“The boy will be appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today. (fri)”
Yesterday community leaders reacted with shock after hearing that the boy had been charged.
Faz Patel, who was awarded an MBE for community cohesion work and acts as an advisor to the Duke Of Lancaster’s Regiment, said: “It is very hard to believe. I think it is absolutely shocking if these allegations are true especially coming from a 14-year-old boy.”
Cllr Salim Mulla, member for Queen’s Park on Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “My initial reaction is that I am shocked that a 14-year-old could be accused of ordering something like that. I think it is alarming.”
ANZAC Day commemorates the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps’ and is held on April 25 to mark the casualties of the First World War battle in Gallipoli.
This year’s events take on extra significance because it is the centenary of the conflict in Turkey.