Telegram Teenager Found Guilty of Terrorism Offences
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A teenager from Swindon has been convicted of terrorism offences following a two-week trial at Winchester Crown Court.
The jury found 18 year old Malakai Wheeler (13/11/04), guilty of six offences relating to the possession and dissemination of terrorist material. He has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced on November 3, 2023.
Wheeler was arrested in May 2021 as part of an intelligence led operation by Counter Terrorism Policing North East, with support from Counter Terrorism Policing South West. The investigation centred around an online chat group in which like-minded individuals were suspected of possessing, sharing and posting extreme right-wing views, content and instructional material.
Extensive enquiries revealed Wheeler to be a prolific contributor, regularly posting racist and antisemitic material and propaganda, in addition to distributing information about how to create weapons and explosives.
He was later charged with three offences of disseminating terrorist publications, contrary to Section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and three offences of collecting information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Detective Chief Superintendent James Dunkerley is the Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East. He said: “Although only 16 at the time of his arrest, Wheeler was deeply entrenched in a Telegram chat group committed to extreme right-wing ideology.
“He was not simply curious, or a passive observer within the group. He clearly shared the same mindset as other members and was very active when it came to promoting racist and antisemitic views and propaganda.
“It is important young people recognise the potential impact of their online activity, before they cross a line into criminality, or engage in harmful or dangerous behaviours.
“If someone you know is expressing extreme views or hatred, we’d urge you to ACT Early and get help before the situation escalates into something more serious.
“Please visit www.actearly.uk for further information or call the ACT Early support line in confidence on 0800 011 3764 to share your concerns.”
Wiltshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Deb Smith said: “I’m sure this case will cause some concern within our communities in Swindon but I hope it illustrates the commitment across the national police service to work together to apprehend those who share deeply dangerous views.
“I would like to thank our colleagues at the National Counter Terrorism Policing Network for their robust action and for ensuring this individual doesn’t pose any threat to our local communities.
“This is a timely reminder that everyone has a part to play in stopping these types of criminal activities. If you have any concerns or something does not seem right, please report these to the police.
“You can find out more information and ways of reporting information anonymously by visiting www.act.campaign.gov.uk.”