UK & World News
Teenager Planned 'Columbine Attack' In UK
An 18-year-old man standing trial for two terror-related offences made plans for "The New Columbine", a jury at the Old Bailey has heard.
Michael Piggin, from Loughborough, Leicestershire, is accused of possession of items for the purpose of terrorism, and possessing a document containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
He denies both the charges.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Max Hill QC described for the jury a list of items found at Piggin's home, following a police search.
It included nine partially assembled petrol bombs, commercial firework powder, a number of partially assembled pipe bombs and improvised explosive devices, along with a quantity of pyrotechnic fuses, a gas mask, and a number of air and ball-bearing guns.
"That list, you may think, is startling," he said.
Earlier, the judge had explained to the jury that special measures had been taken during the trial, including more frequent breaks, as Mr Piggin suffers from Aspergers Syndrome.
Mr Hill told the jury that Piggin was possessed of "extreme views" and was "serious about putting those views into action against others".
Expanding upon the evidence that the prosecution case would be relying upon, Mr Hill described to jurors a notebook Piggin had with a picture of South American revolutionary Che Guevara on the front.
He drew their attention to various additions Piggin had made, including a reference to the English Defence League, a swastika in the middle of Guevara's forehead, and the slogan "Why so serious?" - a quote from the Joker, a character in one of the recent Batman films.
Jurors were directed to one page entitled Plans And Tactics For Operation under which was written in brackets The New Columbine.
Mr Hill suggested this was a reference to the 1999 shooting at a high school in Columbine, Ohio, in the US, in which two students opened fire on and killed 12 fellow students and one teacher.
On another page entitled Potential Targets were listed a number of locations, including Loughborough mosque, Loughborough University, Piggin's former school and council offices.
The court also heard that the defendant possessed a copy of the Mujahideen Poison Handbook. "For what purpose did he have that?" asked Mr Hill.
Mr Hill said the jury would have to decide on the basis of the items found, including the notebook, whether Mr Piggin was "arrested before he could pursue to its conclusion a plan... either to terrorise pupils or staff at [the school named in the notepad], against whom he bore a grudge, or to target other locations...".
The court was also played extracts from Dictaphone recordings the defendant had made prior to his arrest, discovered during the police search.
In them, Piggin described items and weapons he had purchased, including "a new machete - that's pretty cool".
He also outlined how he intended to build pipe bombs and smoke grenades, and made reference to Columbine and Virginia Tech, a higher education college in America where a student killed 32 people.
Piggin and two other teenagers, who cannot be named, have already pleaded guilty to charges of possessing petrol bombs and component parts of pipe bombs for the use of explosive devices, the jury was told.
Piggin has also admitted possessing the component parts for improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the court heard.
The trial continues.
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