Joe Metcalfe, a teenager found guilty of plotting a terrorist attack on a mosque, has recently converted to Islam, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Metcalfe, 17, embarked on a scouting mission to a mosque in Keighley, West Yorkshire, at 15, crashing his father’s Lexus into a fence. During this journey, he filmed himself with Serbian folk music in the background, mimicking the Christchurch mosque attacks.
The court learned of Metcalfe’s deep admiration for Brenton Tarrant, the individual responsible for the tragic 2019 New Zealand mosque attacks, mosque attacks, and his keen interest in right-wing ideology and terrorism. Despite his recent conversion to Islam, Metcalfe’s sincerity remains under scrutiny.
Metcalfe’s extensive preparations for a terror attack included drafting a manifesto, attempting to purchase a gun, and formulating a detailed plan. His notebook contained a pictogram featuring a stick figure surrounded by Nazi symbols and the names of infamous killers. This pictorial evidence, among others, painted a clear picture of Metcalfe’s intent to carry out a right-wing-inspired attack in the summer of 2022.
Mrs. Justice Cheema-Grubb, presiding over the case, expressed skepticism regarding Metcalfe’s conversion to Islam and remorse. His recent behavior in detention, including inciting violence against a doctor, further complicates the perception of his repentance.
Teenager Convicted of Terrorism, Rape, and Extremism
Metcalfe, who is on medication for psychosis but does not require hospitalization for a mental disorder, was convicted of possession of a knife, disseminating terrorist publications, and multiple counts of rape. His online activities included sharing videos of the Christchurch killings and expressing a desire to bomb a mosque.
The gravity of Metcalfe’s actions is highlighted by his sentence: 10 years in prison with an additional license period. Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, emphasized the seriousness of Metcalfe’s plans, underscoring that they were more than mere fantasies.
Metcalfe’s case is particularly concerning, given his young age and the depth of his extremist beliefs. His actions and planning pose a significant threat to society. The lawsuit also underscores the ongoing challenge of addressing radicalization among youth and the importance of effective counter-terrorism measures.
West Yorkshire Police’s Chief Superintendent Richard Padwell acknowledged the case’s potential impact on local Muslim communities, ensuring continued vigilance against threats.