A police chief has warned people to look out for signs of radicalisation among young people after a teenager was convicted of terror offences driven by far-right ideology.
Harry Vaughan, 18, last month admitted downloading and sharing bomb-making manuals online after police found neo-Nazi, antisemitic and Satanic material on a memory stick in his bedroom.
The teenager, from south-west London, was a star pupil studying for A-levels in maths and computing at the exclusive Tiffin School, a grammar in Kingston, when he was arrested.
He will be sentenced at the Old Bailey later on Friday for 14 terror-related offences and two child abuse image offences, according to police.
Commander of the Met Police’s counter-terrorism unit, Richard Smith, said: ‘Any young person can be radicalised – but they could be helped too.
‘Harry Vaughan is an intelligent young man who was predicted A-star grades and aspiring to study computing at university.
‘Yet online, he was an enthusiastic participant of right-wing terrorist forums. He made and published vitriolic graphics encouraging terrorism and signposted people to violent terrorist guidebooks online.
Cdr Smith continued: ‘His case illustrates it is possible for any young person to be susceptible to radicalisation, so today I really want to appeal to everyone to be as vigilant as possible for signs that a young, loved one may be in trouble.
‘If you have any concerns at all, act decisively – talk to the police before it’s too late. We have officers who are specially trained and ready to help people who are becoming radicalised choose a better life for themselves.’
Detectives arrested Vaughan in June 2019 after identifying a ring of people posting messages on an extremist website.
They found 4,200 images and 302 files on his devices, including graphics encouraging terrorism in the name of Sonnenkrieg Division (SKD), the banned UK chapter of an international neo-Nazi network which has been linked to several racially-aggravated murders.
He was also found to have published three images and a message on a far-right forum intended to encourage terrorism as early as January last year, when he was just 16, according to MailOnline.
He pleaded guilty in September to one count of encouragement of terrorism, one count of disseminating a terrorist publication, 12 counts of possessing a document containing information of a kind likely to be of use to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism, and two counts of making an indecent photograph of a child.
Cdr Smith added: ‘Vaughan sought to spread his poisonous views, to encourage others to commit acts of terrorism and to provide like-minded people with the information they need to kill people.
‘If you are the person being radicalised, you may not realise it. You may be feeling confused, angry and alone.
‘There may be a niggling voice in the back of your head questioning what you are doing. If this sounds like you, please reach out – we can help you as we have many people before you.’
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