Newcastle teenager given life sentence for bomb plot

25/09/2015

A teenager who plotted to blow up Newcastle College and 'shoot a bunch of people' has been sentenced to life imprisonment today at Newcastle Crown Court.

Liam Lyburd, 19, of Hamilton Place, Newcastle, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 8 years after being found guilty at trial of four counts of making explosives, one count of making an explosive with intent, three counts of possessing an explosive substance with intent, one count of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon, one count of possessing prohibited ammunition with intent to endanger life and one count of possessing prohibited ammunition.

The charges relate to the discovery of a cache of weapons at Lyburds home, including a gun and bullets which he had purchase online. He had also constructed five pipe bombs containing nails and two further explosive devices after researching the subject online. The cache was discovered after a woman with whom he had discussed his plans over social media alerted police.

Lyburd was asked to leave Newcastle College in 2012, only five weeks into his studies, after exhibiting shocking behaviour and poor attendance. Rather than accept responsibility for his own actions, Lyburd had taken this decision as a personal slight and began researching guns, explosives and terror attacks online in order to take his revenge. He then amassed the cache of weapons over the next two years, funded by hacking into the computers of paedophiles and forcing them to pay him large sums of money.

John Dilworth, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North East, said: "The great irony here is that the sheer complexity of this plot does demonstrate that Mr Lyburd is actually a very intelligent young man, albeit deeply troubled. Had he applied that intelligence to his studies at the college, he may never have been thrown off his course in the first place.

"However, he was unable to accept how his own actions had contributed to his expulsion and his mind twisted those events into a personal attack on himself, for which he swore a violent and bloody revenge.

"I commend the actions of those with whom Mr Lyburd had been speaking online and who reported his increasingly disturbing comments to police. It is chilling to think what the consequences may have been in this case had it not been for them."