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21st Jul 2018

Yorkshire schoolboys named in Columbine-style massacre plot

They've both been given custodial sentences

Oli Dugmore

They’ve both been given custodial sentences

Two teenage boys, both 15 years old, have been jailed for planning a Columbine-style school shooting in north Yorkshire.

One was sentenced to 12 years, the other 10, for planning a shooting at Northallerton school using stolen guns and homemade bombs to target a “kill list.” The boys were named as Thomas Wyllie and Alex Bolland after reporting restrictions were lifted at Leeds Crown Court.

Prosecutors said the teenagers “hero-worshipped” Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the perpetrators of the Columbine High School shooting.

The boys were 14 when they planned the attack and denied conspiracy to murder, saying the plot was just a “fantasy,” but police said the teenagers had taken real steps to achieve their aims.

Analysis of their phones revealed they had downloaded copies of The Anarchist’s Cookbook, which contains instructions for making bombs, as well as stockpiling materials to make them at a hideout in an abandoned shop near an army barracks.

Thomas Wyllie had written a note in his diary that said: “Sorry, if this is found I have committed one of the worst atrocities in British history or killed myself.” Other entries praised Hitler and one other read: “Everyone is filthy and deserve to be shot, including me. I’ll play the role of God and decide who I let live and die.”

During sentencing, judge Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said: “The conspiracy to murder, of which you have been convicted, was not wishful thinking or a fantasy. It was a real plot.”

“Both of you inhabited narrow lives in which you saw yourselves as victims and it is clear that, rather than be positive influences on each other, you entered into a noxious relationship which pulled each other down further into a selfish obsession with punishing others for the wrongs you felt had been perpetrated against you.”

Addressing Bolland, the judge added: “You were bullied over a period of years and it had a profound impact on you. The school authorities failed to take your complaints seriously and failed you badly. But that was no justification for what you planned.”