Tyne & Wear

Terror accused Durham teen 'had neo-Nazi alter-ego'

Manchester Crown Court Image copyright Google
Image caption The boy, who cannot be named due to his age, is on trial at Manchester Crown Court

A boy accused of planning a terrorist attack developed a neo-Nazi "alter-ego" to make him feel superior to other people, a court has heard.

The 16-year-old, from Durham, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denies six terror offences.

He told Manchester Crown Court the "persona" was limited to his diaries and online activity.

Michelle Nelson QC, prosecuting, said the defendant was "lying and attempting to manipulate" the jury.

She asked why he chose to adopt an "extreme right-wing, fascist persona".

"Because that was the most extreme I could think of", the defendant replied, adding it tied-in with looking down on other people.

Ms Nelson said the boy had a history of racism pre-dating 2017, when he said he created the persona.

Asked about the similarity between his diary and those kept by the perpetrators of the Columbine massacre in the US, the defendant said he copied their tone and "that was the start of building an alter-ego".

'Hot topic'

Under cross examination, he accepted that racist jokes he told at school - which other students had complained about in 2016 - were him and not his "persona".

Mrs Nelson asked if "the problem you had at school was that you were a racist, an anti-Semite, and a homophobe?"

The defendant said he had gained an "undeserved" reputation, telling jurors: "I couldn't make friends. The next best thing is to be a hot topic".

Jurors heard police first interviewed the boy in 2017 about a racist Twitter account.

He denies preparing terrorist acts, disseminating a terrorist publication, possessing an article for a purpose connected to terrorism, and three counts of possessing documents useful to a terrorist.

The trial continues.

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