Jobless White Supremacist Wanted to Achieve Killing Spree Notoriety, Court Told
A jobless white supremacist wanted to achieve notoriety and emulate the Columbine School shooters by committing a murderous mass attack in his home town in Cumbria, a jury has heard.
Shane Fletcher, 21, from Workington, was said to have regarded Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as “legends” and wished to take revenge on those he felt had made his life unhappy.
It is alleged Fletcher targeted the town’s traditional Uppies and Downies event – where large numbers of participants and spectators gather every Easter for three football matches played in the streets throughout the night.
The defendant is said to have also admired another US spree killer in Dylann Roof, who targeted a church in Charleston, and West Cumbria mass shooter Derrick Bird.
Opening the case at Manchester Crown Court, prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford said: “By early 2018, the Crown says the defendant had formed the intention to commit a murderous mass attack in his home town of Workington in Cumbria. His motive was not terrorism, but hatred and a desire for revenge.
“It would appear that in part his hatred was borne of his racist belief that people who were Jewish and not white were responsible for his inability to find work and to make any kind of a meaningful life for himself.
“He had, or felt he had, been bullied throughout his teenage years by other people in Workington, who he felt had looked down on him and victimised him.
“The Crown says that, like the Columbine killers, he wanted to take revenge on those he blamed for his unhappy life. He wanted to achieve notoriety by going on a killing spree before killing himself.”
Mr Sandiford said Fletcher did not want to act alone, and had tried to recruit his only friend, Kyle Dixon, to agree to join him in the Uppies and Downies attack in April 2018.
The prosecutor said Mr Dixon was a young man with “significant problems” who had suffered a brain injury and was prone to fits.
Although Mr Dixon had initially expressed some enthusiasm, it happily appeared to peter out, he told the jury.
Fletcher also disclosed to a probation officer he had fantasised carrying out a massacre at the Uppies and Downies, but added the only thing stopping him was a lack of cash and no access to weapons, the court heard.
The police were alerted, and days later on March 10 the defendant was arrested at his home in Wastwater Drive – which he shared with his mother and brothers.
Fletcher has pleaded not guilty to one count of soliciting murder and two counts of collecting or making a record of information useful for terrorism purposes, namely instructions on how to make a pipe bomb and how to make napalm or an improvised version of napalm.