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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

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Teenager sentenced to life for plot to attack Newcastle College


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 discovery of a cache of weapons at Lyburd's home, including a gun and bullets which he had purchased 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 clearly 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."


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.