NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Banff man Connor Ward jailed for terrorism offences

Connor Ward Image copyright Police Scotland

A 25-year-old man from Banff convicted of planning terrorism attacks on mosques has been jailed for life.

A judge told Connor Ward he must serve at least six years before he is eligible for parole.

His trial heard he acquired components for potential bombs and kept a list of Scottish mosque addresses.

Ward had denied breaching the Terrorism Act but was charged with conduct which showed his intention to commit acts of terrorism.

Police who searched his home found hundreds of ball bearings, which could be used in pipe bombs, and rocket tubes capable of firing projectiles.

'Catastrophic results'

At the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lord Burns told him: "The jury found you guilty and must have been satisfied you were in the course of preparing acts of terrorism.

"The jury's view was that you formed an intention to attack a mosque or mosques in Aberdeen and would have acted alone.

"You had reached the stage of identifying your targets and expressed threats against Muslims."

Lord Burns said that if Ward had carried out the acts of terrorism "it would have had catastrophic results."

'Serious public risk'

The judge added: "You had reached the stage of buying materials and you planned to cause serious injury at the least.

"Your obsession with weapons and explosives and your extreme right-wing attitudes presents serious risk to the public."

Image caption The case was heard at the High Court in Edinburgh

Ward showed no emotion as he was led away to begin his sentence.

The trial had been held at the High Court in Edinburgh.

'Isolated incident'

Imam Ibrahim Alwawi, from the Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre, told BBC Scotland: "We feel very sad, it is actually a very sad situation to see a young person destroy his life due to misinformation and promotion of non tolerance.

"He is a victim, misled and misguided.

"People felt shocked and surprised and worried at the beginning but we trust the justice system and everyone is now calm and understands this is just an unfortunate isolated incident."

Ward was previously jailed for three years in 2012 after admitting explosives charges in connection with an incident which saw people evacuated from their homes.

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