In June 2017, a 17-year-old boy was arrested by police for planning a terrorist attack on a Justin Bieber concert. The Birmingham Crown Court has declared that the Welsh teen had a hammer and “martyrdom letter” with himself.
Lloyd Gunton, from Rhondda Cynon Taff, introduced himself as a soldier of the ISIS. He was arrested on the same day of Bieber’s concert. He has been jailed for life and will serve a minimum of 11 years of his life sentence.
According to the documents, Gunton had searched for information about the concert’s security. In his computer the police had found a copy of the concert poster. A kitchen knife, a claw hammer, and a “martyrdom letter” had also been found in his school backpack.
“I am a soldier of the ISIS,” he said in the letter. “I have attacked Cardiff today because your government keep (sic) on bombing targets in Syria and Iraq. There will be more attacks in the future.”
However, Lloyd Gunton has denied all the charges against him in the court. He told the judge that he wasn’t a member of ISIS, but he had a “stupid interest in the gory.” He said he was just curious about ISIS but he “never thought about actually” carrying out an attack.
“I wanted to see how easy it was for people who had an interest in terrorism to go online and get information because the police and the government are trying to crack down on terrorism and radicalisation,” he declared. “I wanted to see if it was possible, not for me but from someone else’s point of view.”
Sue Hemming from the Crown Prosecution Service claimed that unlike the teen’s assertions, it is clear that he intended the terrorist crime. “This teenager’s behaviour over many months leaves no doubt that he intended to kill and maim as many people as possible in an attack reminiscent of the incident on Westminster Bridge,” Hemming said.
“The CPS presented overwhelming evidence that he was prepared to die for [an] extremist worldview and he will now rightly face the prospect of a substantial prison sentence,” she continued.
Judge Mark Wall QC has also declared that the documents show a planned attack from the teen. “I sentence you on the basis that at the time of your arrest you were within hours of committing an act of atrocity on the streets of Cardiff,” Wall said. “It is clear that Cardiff was your target. In particular, you had made a number of online searches in connection with a concert that was being given by Justin Bieber at the stadium in Cardiff on 30 June.”
“Whether you would have targeted people attending that concert or others going about their lawful business in Cardiff that night is not certain. It is not possible to estimate how many people would have been murdered or seriously injured by your actions, as the attack was foiled before you could undertake it.”
“I am sure that you planned not just the killing of one person but rather mass murder. In my judgment, I must pass an indeterminate sentence. Your actions show a total disregard for human life. I cannot foresee a time when I can be confident that your danger will have ended or decreased sufficiently to enable me to pass a determinate or extended sentence.”