Man, 20, wanted ‘full-on racial war’ jailed over plot to bomb Newcastle police station

11 July 2023, 15:17

Luke Skelton has been jailed for four years.
Luke Skelton has been jailed for four years. Picture: Alamy/Counter Terrorism Policing North East/PA

By Jenny Medlicott

A former college student who was intent on a "racial war" and plotted to bomb a police station in Newcastle has been jailed.

Luke Skelton was 17 when he started plotting to bomb a police station in Newcastle upon Tyne and started developing and sharing extreme rightwing views online, which led to his pursuit of a “full-on” race war.

Skelton, who is now 20, was sentenced to four years in jail on Tuesday with an extended license period of one year.

He researched napalm, Molotov cocktails and how to make explosives on the internet, the court heard.

The judge said he was he was engaged in a course of conduct: “Based on the extreme rightwing views which you then held in order to bring about civil disturbance and unrest by terrorist means”.

Speaking at Teeside crown court, Judge Paul Watson KC said the evidence showed Skelton was “a committed and active rightwing extremist”.

Skelton is reported to have had racist, sexist, homophobic, antisemitics and Islamophobic views.

Jurors were told the then 17-year-old, who was a student at Gateshead college, travelled over 10 miles from Washington, Tyne and Wear in September 2021 to take photos of Forth Banks police station, the building he was plotting to bomb.

Court also heard he wrote a manifesto and “final note” in which he discussed encouraging a “racial war”.

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Luke Skelton began sharing rightwing extremist views when he was 17.
Luke Skelton began sharing rightwing extremist views when he was 17. Picture: Counter Terrorism Policing North East/PA

"Your internet activity shows you were a committed and active right-wing extremist dedicated to white supremacy,” the judge said.

"You made heroes of those who carried out atrocities in the name of fascism."

He also said Skelton wanted to "bring about civil disturbance by terrorist means”.

The now 20-year-old was first arrested in June 2021 but was told the following month he would face no action.

"The reality is that you had not the intellectual, financial or technical wherewithal to have been able to construct an explosive device capable of creating even modest injury,” the judge later added.

Crispin Aylett KC said in mitigation of Skelton, who has autism: “People with autism feel marginalised and are more prone to being radicalised. Some - and Luke Skelton was one of them - want to lash out."

The judge said Skelton committed the offences due to the “loneliness” of the pandemic, and that the extremism may have given him a “sense of excitement and purpose which [he] readily latched on to”.

“Your fantasy was to turn back the pages of history books to times when such xenophobic and hateful views were tolerated and even admired.”

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