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NSW boy, 14, found not guilty of conspiring to commit a school massacre

Boy, 14, found not guilty of conspiracy to commit school massacre in Australia – after diary entries emerged in which he spoke of walking into his school with a sawed-off shotgun and killing everyone ‘who cheated on me’

  • 14-year-old boy cleared of conspiracy to commit massacre at his school
  • The NSW teen was arrested in 2020 after journal entries were found
  • Includes journal entries of knowledge about bomb making and to ‘traumatize people’
  • Also includes a plan to “ruin the reputation of school and get revenge”
  • Judge accepted that severely depressed teen vented to deal with emotions

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A NSW teenager has been cleared of conspiracy to commit a mass murder at his school.

The then 14-year-old was arrested in 2020 after diary entries boast of bomb-making knowledge and a plan to “ruin the school’s reputation, traumatize people and get revenge.”

Thomas Eliot, a court-assigned pseudonym, also wrote that he regularly thought “dark things,” such as walking into his school with a sawed-off shotgun and killing everyone “whoever cheated me.”

The Crown claimed he had reached an agreement with his best friend to carry out his “pure retaliation plan”: cause an evacuation with deodorant can explosions, kill his bully and stab people in the corridors.

14-year-old boy was found not guilty of conspiracy to commit a mass murder at his school (photo, NSW court)

14-year-old boy was found not guilty of conspiracy to commit a mass murder at his school (photo, NSW court)

But after a five-day trial, a district court judge this week accepted that the severely depressed teen vented, ranted and did so to calm and cope with the torment he felt.

Where he writes, ‘I’m a lot more homicidal and suicidal,’ he keeps writing ‘but I don’t want such things to happen, do I. I want to experience the new technology, games and new relationships even career,” said the judge.

“These are not the writings of an agreement to murder and an intent to carry out that agreement.”

The Crown’s only witness was Eliot’s best friend, who testified in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

The pair often played tactical shooting video games, sometimes dressing their characters as the gunmen from the Columbine School massacres, the court was told.

The friend said he’d seen a sketch of the school on Eliot’s whiteboard with something resembling dynamite in every building.

1660897590 911 NSW boy 14 found not guilty of conspiring to commit

1660897590 911 NSW boy 14 found not guilty of conspiring to commit

He was arrested in 2020 after diary entries boasted of bomb-making knowledge and a plan to “ruin the school’s reputation, traumatize people and get our revenge.” He also wrote that he regularly thought “dark things” like walking into his school with a sawed-off shotgun and killing everyone “whoever fucked me” (stock image from school)

Eliot later invited his friend to the massacre, talked about getting head-to-toe black outfits, and wrote that he was very excited to be getting closer to “PR.”

“But I think it will take a few years. I’ll do a few pages on PR and list EVERYTHING. It is a conspiracy to murder, carefully,” Eliot wrote.

The friend’s evidence as to whether he took Eliot’s plan seriously, however, wavered dramatically.

When questioned by Eliot’s lawyer, the friend admitted that he was not serious about killing people and that he would have told an adult if he believed Eliot would hurt people.

Eliot’s ideas came to light after he spoke to a school counselor—a meeting initiated by his partner.

In the end, the judge was unhappy with the reliability or accuracy of the friend’s evidence.

Further, the diary entries had to be viewed through the lens of a 14-year-old child, he said.

“The diary entries are the writings of a severely depressed and anxious child who went through a lot,” the judge said.

“The subjects are broad and he wavers at his own thoughts.”

Court orders and non-publication laws prohibit the publication of the children’s identities, the name of the school and the city in which they lived.

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