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HomeUKTeenage terrorist Matthew King who was radicalized in lockdown is imprisoned

Teenage terrorist Matthew King who was radicalized in lockdown is imprisoned


An Islamic State fanatic who radicalized online during the lockdown and plotted a terror attack against British police officers or soldiers has been sentenced to life with a minimum sentence of six years.

Matthew King, 19, from Wickford in Essex, appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday afternoon after previously pleading guilty to planning terrorist acts between 22 December 2021 and 17 May 2022.

It was the first televised terrorism sentencing hearing in England and Wales.

King expressed a desire to kill military personnel as he prepared to stake out a British Army barracks in Stratford, East London.

‘Gorious fantasy’

He discussed his plans and shared a “gory fantasy” with an online girlfriend with whom he started a teenage flirtation, the Old Bailey heard.

His desire to carry out an attack in Britain or travel to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State was thwarted when his mother reported him to the Prevent counterterrorism program.

Authorities were also tipped off via an anti-terrorist hotline after he posted a video to a WhatsApp group on April 13 last year.

While in custody, King had threatened violence to “behead an imam” and “kill and dismember staff”, the Old Bailey was told.

In January, King of Wickford, Essex, pleaded guilty to planning terrorist attacks between December 22, 2021 and May 17, 2022.

‘About’ risks

Judge Mark Lucraft KC told the court: “Having considered all the matters set out and summarized in these comments, and in particular the degree of danger to the public you pose and whether there was a reliable estimate of the length of time you remain a danger, I believe there should be discretionary life imprisonment in this case and that is the penalty I am imposing on you.

“It carries a life sentence. The risks around you, albeit as a young man, are clear and worrying. The way you say one thing to professionals and say the opposite to others, I don’t think there is a clear picture of when those risks are likely to diminish.

“That position supports my decision on the danger of imprisonment for life.”

Judge Lucraft praised King’s mother, saying: “She took the very courageous step of warning Prevent when she was concerned about her son. That couldn’t have been easy in the first place and in my opinion she definitely (did) the right thing.

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