Michael Piggin terror retrial: Jury fails to reach verdict

Sophie Hutchinson explains the background to the case

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The jury in the retrial of a teenager accused of plotting terrorist attacks in his Leicestershire home town has again failed to reach a verdict.

Michael Piggin, from Loughborough, was accused of two counts of terrorism which included plans to attack his former school, a mosque and a cinema.

The 18-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to possessing explosives.

The prosecution confirmed there would be no retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict after 11 days.

'For entertainment'

During the trial at the Old Bailey prosecuting lawyer Max Hill QC said Piggin had plotted a "Columbine-style massacre" in the Leicestershire town.

He showed weapons found in his bedroom and videos of the teenager making Neo-Nazi salutes and shouting 'EDL' outside a mosque.

Following a raid at his home in Beaumont Road, Shelthorpe, police found several air rifles, component parts of pipe bombs, a crossbow and a swastika flag hung above his bed.

Piggin, who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome after his arrest in February last year, said he wrote about attacks to cope with bullying and tested explosives "for entertainment".

Swastika flag above Michael Piggin's bed Police found several weapons and partially assembled petrol bombs in his bedroom

Videos shown during the case showed him throwing petrol bombs behind a leisure centre and writing racist graffiti on a wall.

The teenager denied possessing articles for a purpose connected with terrorism and having a Mujahideen Poisons Handbook, which is banned under terrorism laws.

Throughout the trial Piggin denied any real plans for attacks and said it had all "just been in his head".

He said he "didn't have a problem with Muslims in general" and described racist comments made on videos as "banter".

'Loss of life'

On Friday the judge dismissed the jury after they said there was "no real prospect of them ever reaching a verdict that they agreed on".

This latest trial was a retrial after a previous jury failed to reach a verdict in November.

Det Chief Insp Will Catterton, from the counter terrorism unit, said: "We obviously treated this very seriously indeed.

"Anything of this type where a person is putting together items such as improvised explosive devices, one has to assume that they can prove fatal if handled incorrectly or if someone has a particular mindset to use them, it can result in a loss of life."

Piggin will be sentenced for three counts of possessing explosives and one of carrying a knife in the street on 13 June.

Michael Piggin in the homemade video The jury was shown videos of Piggin throwing homemade petrol bombs

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