A British teenager's plans to carry out a massacre at his school using handguns and explosives was foiled by the FBI after agents received a tip-off from an American chat-room user, a court heard on Monday.
The 16-year-old drew up detailed plans to massacre classmates in Northamptonshire, creating classroom diagrams and a hit-list of fellow students, including where they sat. He said he would carry on shooting until the police arrived, at which point he would take his own life.
But after warning users on a forum that he would be armed and ready "20 minutes from now", one user called the FBI, who alerted police in England. Yesterday the boy, who cannot be named because of his age, was detained indefinitely in a secure mental unit after admitting possessing explosive materials and terrorist materials.
Birmingham magistrates were told that the teenager, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, had terrorist e-books and guides to making explosives on his computer. When police searched his home, they also found chemicals used to make explosives that had been bought from the internet.
The boy was arrested in February last year after detailing his plans on Omegle, an anonymous chat website, claiming he would carry out the massacre in revenge for being bullied.
Mark Topping, prosecuting, said an American chat-room user alerted the FBI when the boy made comments about carrying out the mass killing on February 24.
"The boy told the person he was going to stage a massacre at his school using handguns then committing suicide," said Topping.
"He said 20 minutes from now he would be armed with a Magnum.44 revolver, a Beretta 92FS and various other weapons and ammunition.
"He said he would keep shooting until the police arrived, at which point he would commit suicide. He also made a comment about how people shouldn't have bullied him so much."
Topping said the police found diaries and notebooks. "There were plans of classrooms, desks at which pupils sat and who was to be targeted," he said. "It is interspersed with references to [the boy] feeling himself to be weak and powerless, excluded from social activities and being bullied."
The court heard how the 16-year-old went to social services days before he was arrested complaining that he had no friends and felt like a "social retard."
"He made references to not being happy in his family home and feeling socially retarded, with no friends whatsoever," said Topping. "The boy was at a mainstream school where he was assessed as being noticeably intelligent but not interested in making friends."
A police search of the teenager's home found 20 publications, including The Terrorist Handbook, The CIA Explosives for Sabotage Manual and a bomb-making guide called An Anarchist's Cookbook - Recipes for Disaster.
Officers also found containers of potassium nitrate and sulphur powder — "precursor chemicals" for gunpowder.
John O'Brien, a psychiatrist, said the boy's disorder caused him to obsess over his interests. "He has talked about this in a fantasy-type way, and has said he didn't have plans to carry it out," he said.
Imposing a hospital order, District Judge Howard Riddle said evidence from experts provided "hope" for the boy's future. The boy also admitted possessing cartoons depicting child sex abuse.