January 18, 2021 Faith Matters

Britain’s youngest terrorist can be freed from jail, says Parole Board

Britain’s youngest terrorist – who plotted to murder police officers in Australia on Anzac Day – can be freed from jail, the Parole Board has ruled.

The 20-year-old, from Blackburn, Lancashire, who can only be identified as RXG, sent encrypted messages instructing an Australian jihadist to launch attacks during a 2015 parade.

He was jailed for life in October 2015 after admitting inciting terrorism overseas.

In a document detailing the decision, the Parole Board said: “After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in detention, and the evidence presented at the hearings, the panel was satisfied that RXG was suitable for release.”

At the age of just 14, the teenager took on the role of “organiser and adviser” and suggested beheading or using a car to kill officers during the annual April 25 commemoration of Australians and New Zealanders killed in conflict, which that year marked the centenary of the First World War battle in Gallipoli.

After being recruited online by Islamic State propagandist Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, over nine days RXG sent thousands of messages to 18-year-old Sevdet Besim, instructing him to kill police officers at the remembrance parade in Melbourne.

Australian police were alerted to the plot after British officers discovered material on the teenager’s phone.

The Parole Board cleared him to leave prison at his first review after he became eligible for release in October.

But the body said he will be subject to strict licence conditions, including having to live at a designated address, wearing an electronic tag and attending supervision appointments as well as adhering to restrictions on his movements, contacting people and using technology.

This plan is considered “robust enough to manage RXG in the community”, according to the decision papers.

The Parole Board said it could only direct release if it was “satisfied that it was no longer necessary for the protection of the public that RXG remained confined in prison”.

Two hearings took place, in September and earlier this month, before the decision was made, during which RXG said he hoped he would be freed.

As well as hearing evidence from RXG, the panel also considered submissions from his lawyer, probation officer, other officials, an imam, psychologists and psychiatrists.

According to the Parole Board document, at the time of his offending “risk factors” he displayed included “not coping well with feelings of anger, being manipulative, not being open and honest with people, his lack of maturity, obsessional behaviour, the influence on him of associates, unhelpful beliefs and extremist views, his radicalisation and his affiliation with ISIS”.

He was diagnosed with autism in 2017 and while behind bars has worked to “address his offending behaviour, his understanding of Islam and to develop his level of maturity”.

The document said witnesses had described the “considerable progress that had been made” and had recommended RXG be released, adding: “No one at the hearing considered there to be a need for further time within the custodial estate.”

His identity will remain a secret for the rest of his life after a High Court ruling last year.

Granting RXG lifelong anonymity, Dame Victoria Sharp said identifying him was likely to cause him “serious harm” and it was therefore necessary for the rare step – taken in only a small number of cases.

Only a handful of similar orders have been made, including those granted to Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who murdered Liverpool toddler James Bulger, and child killer Mary Bell.