Student hatched terror plot to blow up police

A student who hatched a plot to blow up a police station as part of a "full-on war" has been found guilty of planning a terrorist attack.

Luke Skelton, from Washington, was charged after planning an attack in Newcastle in November 2021.

The 19-year-old held extreme right-wing beliefs, had devised recipes for explosives and carried out reconnaissance on potential targets.

He was convicted at Teesside Crown Court following a two-week trial.

The Gateshead College student was arrested in October 2021 and items including his phone, hand-written notes and illustrations of guns were seized.

The court had been told he possessed an "extreme right-wing ideology" and had the "basic building blocks" of an improvised explosive device.

In evidence, it was heard Skelton wanted to protect "white girls" by targeting "rape gangs".

The jury was told he had written: "I've got all the equipment I need to hunt down the gangs…I want a full on war."

It was also said he wrote that he wanted "a chat with a drag queen…involving a knife".

In the days before his arrest, he visited and took photographs of Forth Banks police station, one of three police stations scoped out.

Following the verdict, Det Ch Supt James Dunkerley of Counter Terrorism Policing North East said: "The defendant’s anger towards society, together with his extreme right-wing views, created a dangerous foundation from which his sinister plans were ultimately built.

"He was strongly motivated by this mindset, which continued to fuel his actions and his later offending, despite repeated attempts to draw him away from it.

“The evidence clearly demonstrated that he was not just a person who held strong views but a terrorist who wanted to cause serious harm."

Mr Dunkerley added that officers rely on intelligence and it was "more important than ever that everyone plays their part in tackling terrorism".

"We have seen from this case that terrorists research and sometimes visit the places they plan to attack," he added.

Skelton is due to be sentenced on 19 June.

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