A 24-year-old man who idolised mass murderers in Norway and New Zealand has been convicted of two terrorism offences by a Scottish court after a two-week trial.
Sam Imrie, a recluse from Glenrothes, posted messages on social media which glorified the terrorist attacks carried out in Christchurch in 2019 and on the Norwegian island of Utoya in 2011.
In those two atrocities, the far-right extremists Brenton Tarrant and Anders Breivik killed a total of 120 people before the police were able to arrest them.
Imrie was detained in July 2019 for posting on Telegram that he intended to set fire to the Fife Islamic Centre, located in his hometown.
During the court case, he claimed the remarks were made in jest and that he never intended to follow through with the act.
The 24-year-old was acquitted on the charge of preparing acts of terrorism, but convicted of glorifying and encouraging extremism.
As well as twice breaching the Terrorism Act, the defendant was found to have committed a further six crimes, including arson, possession of extreme pornography and driving while under the influence.
Imrie filmed a fire he started at an abandoned lodge in the village of Thorton on 4 July 2019, claiming on a social media group that the building was the Islamic centre. He also torched parts of St Drostans Cemetery in Markinich the same day.
Judge Lord Mulholland said a background report was needed before Imrie’s sentencing, which is scheduled to take place on 24 November.
“You will be receiving a sentence of some length,” the judge warned him.
The defendant suffered from PTSD after he was assaulted in a park 10 years ago, defence advocate Jim Keegan QC told the Edinburgh High Court.
He left school at 14 and later became fixated on far-right ideology. ”All my heroes are mass murderers,” he wrote in one online post.
Pat Campbell, Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable said: “Sam Imrie was a socially isolated individual who displayed hateful intentions and the potential consequences of his actions do not bear thinking about.”
“It should be stressed that cases such as Imrie’s are rare in Scotland and our officers remain absolutely committed to working with our partners to protect our communities,” he added.
Additional reporting by PA