Newcastle College massacre plot: Dark web teenager Liam Lyburd labelled ‘public danger’ as he is jailed for life

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A college reject who was just hours away from a mass killing spree has been labelled a public danger and jailed for life.

Liam Lyburd, aka Felix Thoedore Burns, intended to carry out multiple murders using deadly weapons he bought by hacking the “dark web”.

Liam Lyburd. Tom White/PA Wire

Liam Lyburd. Tom White/PA Wire

The twisted teen said he would target Newcastle College with his Glock pistol and bombs and killing innocent commuters on the city’s Metro system using a gun, knives and gas.

A judge said hearing the evidence during the teenager’s trial in the summer was a “chilling” experience.

Lyburd was arrested after a tip off from worried internet user Tina McGuire who had alerted the police to his sinister online postings about his plans.

Judge Paul Sloan QC told the would-be killer: “I have no doubt, had it not been for the timely actions of Tina McGuire and intervention of the police, it was only a matter of time before you would have put your plan into action.

“These offences involve accumulation and assembly of weapons over a long period, weapons designed to have maximum effect, bombs adapted with nails, hollow point, expanding bullets to be used in a self-loading pistol with three magazines.

“Your stated intention being to commit a mass killing.

“Hearing the evidence in this case was, to say the least, a chilling experience.

“Your emotional coldness and detachment, lack of empathy to others was self evident.

“The level of danger to the public posed by you is high.

“Moreover, at this stage, no real estimate can be given of the length of time you will remain a danger.”

The judge said the 19-year-old must serve a minimum term of eight years before he can even apply for parole.

The teenager, who told prison officers even after conviction he wanted to shoot people “to see how it felt” was warned: “It is likely to be a very long time indeed before it can be considered that you no longer represent a danger to the public.”

Lyburd, had bought the components for the weapons, which he then assembled himself, by stealing web currency Bitcoins and accessing strangers’ Paypal accounts on the internet.

The loner whose internet names included ‘The Joker’ and ‘I Love my Anger’ had a stockpile of pipe bombs, a 9mm Luger Caliber Glock pistol, ammunition and other explosive devices stashed in his bedroom to use in his massacre.

The former student boasted after his arrest “I wanted to kill them people...there’s no question”.

He told one friend during a series of sinister internet posts he planned on “going down in style” and warned in a note he would show “no mercy” to his innocent victims.

As well as the deadly arsenal of weapons, detectives found a “kill bag” in his bedroom, containing overalls, combat boots, gas masks and gloves.

Investigation of his social media communications revealed reference to the Norwegian massacre of 69 students and how it would soon be time for him to put his plan into action, excited at the prospect of those who would survive his attack having to re-live their terror over and over.

He claimed he planned to kill his mum and expressed support for Jaylen Fryberg, an American teenager who had just shot and killed a number of students at his school in the USA.

Lyburd, of Hamilton Place, Newcastle, admitted possessing pipe bombs, explosive devices, the pistol and ammunition but during a trial at Newcastle Crown Court denied he had an intent to endanger life.

He was unanimously convicted by a jury.

He had also admitted possessing two CS gas canisters.

During the trial the teen, who rarely left his bedroom after he was kicked out of college, claimed he was nothing more than an internet troll who intended to cause panic with his sickening internet posts but never planned to cause real harm.

He gave the court an insight into his life, saying he feared leaving the house and lived on Dominoes pizzas he ordered off the internet and got delivered to his door.

Lyburd, who smiled and laughed to himself during the trial, told the court: “Truthfully, I was lonely.”

Prosecutor Nick Dry told the court how as well as the “Kill bag”, investigators found images Lyburd had taken of himself, dressed for combat and brandishing weapons when his home was raided last November.

There was also a record of Skype conversations with an internet friend in Iceland, telling her of his desire to kill and his acquisition of the gun and ammunition.

Mr Dry said: “Those were items the defendant accepted in interview he had bought using Bit Coins, the decentralized internet currency, from the dark or deep web, the black market where illegal commodities are known to be traded.

“He also admitted to test firing the weapon.

“He discussed shooting commuters on the Newcastle Metro system, stating that he would be on Valium at the time. HE said he had 95 rounds of ammunition and also planned to use poison gas on a train, resorting to his machete and knives in the event that his gun jammed.”

The court heard the basis of Lyburd’s hatred for the college appears to stem from his being removed in 2012 due to his disruptive behaviour and poor attendance.

He had been there for just five weeks, studying Maths and English.

A document found on his computer said: “I will see you in Newcastle College today. It is my first day back since 2012, the year in which my life became miserable after being kicked out for nothing.

“I get all my power back today hahaha.

“I am just looking forward to getting out of the house after spending three years in my bedroom alone :(

“I hold no grudge against Newcastle College. Sarcasm!!!

“I hold them personally responsible for my miserable life. Kicking me out for nothing and making me look a fool by not answering my messages on Twitter and on Facebook.

“You people ruined my whole life don’t expect me to show mercy today.

“No-one disrespects me and gets away with it, I’ll teach you people a little lesson on respect with my 9mm jacketed hollow points.

“ITS TIME FOR EXTREME CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, Fantasy will become reality today for sure. ‘Where the mind goes the body will follow’ and yes people will die there’s no question about that.

“It is funny to think, as I am writing this that people will die, are walking round as is everything is normal, not knowing they’re going to die today.

“It is a beautiful thought.

“Death is termination of all biological functions that sustain a living organism.”

As well as the note and other files, a graphic movie clip showing a two-and-a-half minute seance from a film about a spree shooting in a towerblock was found on the computer.

Anne Richardson, defending, said Lyburd, was living in “fantasy land” and leading a lonely life. Miss Richardson added: “He has no terrorism ideation.”

The court heard Lyburd enjoyed the initial attention after his arrest but now feels “embarrassed”.

Detective Superintendent George Duff, who led the investigation for Northumbria Police, spoke after the sentencing at the court and said he was pleased that Lyburd was behind bars.

He said: “I’m pleased with today’s outcome and the verdict the jury has reached in this case. This has been an excellent investigation by the police and it has been fully supported by our partner agencies. “Lyburd is a dangerous man who intended to cause serious harm. He at no point has shown any remorse for what he intended to do.

“By not admitting his wrongdoing in the first instance shows the utter lack of consideration for those he intended to harm.

“Thankfully the courts and the jury came to the best decision and today Lyburd is behind bars where he belongs.

He added: “His actions not only caused threats to certain people but it also caused concern and disruption to the local community and I would like to thank them for their cooperation throughout the investigation. Community vigilance plays an important role in policing our communities and we encourage anyone with concerns to contact police straight away.”