Leeds Crown Court: Teenager found guilty of plotting Keighley mosque terror attack ‘has converted to Islam’
and live on Freeview channel 276
Joe Metcalfe was 15 when he stole his father’s Lexus car for a scouting trip to a mosque in Keighley and crashed it into a fence. Leeds Crown Court heard Metcalfe, now 17, filmed himself on his phone during the journey and had Serbian folk music playing in the background, in a deliberate recreation of the Christchurch mosque attacks.
A judge said the man behind the 2019 attacks in New Zealand, Brenton Tarrant, was a “hero” to Metcalfe, who was “extremely interested in right-wing ideology and right-wing terrorists”.
The teenager has been jailed for 10 years with an additional licence period of six years after being found guilty of preparing acts of terrorism. The court heard his preparations for carrying out a terror attack included writing out a manifesto, making contact with a gun seller and writing out a detailed plan.
Jurors in Metcalfe’s trial were shown a pictogram drawn by him in a notebook manifesto which shows a s tick man surrounded by a swastika and an SS symbol as well as the names of some of the most notorious killers of recent years. Police said he had a settled plan to conduct his own extreme right-wing-inspired attack in the summer of 2022.
The judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, told Metcalfe: “You failed to persuade the jury this was all just make believe, a fantasy. They were sure you intended to attack a mosque and kill people worshipping there.”
Metcalfe, from Haworth, West Yorkshire, previously pleaded guilty to possession of a knife and four counts of disseminating terrorist publications, which included posting videos on messaging platform Telegram showing the Christchurch killings, and saying that he wanted to “bomb a mosque”.
He was also found guilty of three counts of the rape of a teenage girl during a separate trial. The judge said Metcalfe recently told a probation officer preparing a pre-sentence report that he had converted to Islam.
He told them: “I’m really sorry about what I have done, I’m no longer a threat to anyone. I’m Muslim,” the court heard.
The judge said the unit where Metcalfe is currently being housed raised a number of concerns about his “inappropriate” behaviour, including “inciting other patients on the ward to cause harm to a doctor”.
Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said: “Although everyone has the potential to change I am not convinced there is any yet.”
The court heard he is on medication for psychosis but does not have a mental disorder which requires hospital treatment.
Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Although he spent time watching and sharing violent, racist, homophobic and antisemitic videos, these were not idle fantasies.
“He made a detailed plan to murder Muslims at a nearby mosque while disguised as an armed police officer, record the killings and escape.
“He stole his father’s car to carry out a reconnaissance mission, contacted a gun seller to try and secretly ship a weapon to the UK, and but for apprehension intended to carry out the attack.
“Despite his young age his beliefs and willingness to take violent action to propagate them are a threat to our society, and it is right that he has been sentenced today for those crimes.”