An Islamic State fanatic has been sentenced to at least six years in prison for plotting a terror attack on British police officers or soldiers after being radicalised online during the Covid pandemic has been jailed.
He started planning an attack when he was just 18 and is believed to have become rapidly radicalised in a period of months after converting to Islam online.
Matthew King, 19, from Wickford in Essex, had previously pleaded guilty to preparation of terrorist acts between December 22 2021 and May 17 2022.
During sentencing, Judge Mark Lucraft handed King a discretionary life sentence, telling the Old Bailey it was clear King developed an extreme Islamist mindset with anti-Western views.
He had expressed a desire to ‘torture, mutilate and kill military personnel’ as he prepared to stake out a British Army barracks in Stratford, east London, the court had heard.
Other targets for a potential knife attack included a police station, railway station, and Stratford magistrates’ court.
The judge added it was clear King intended to commit terror attacks both in the UK and overseas.
King had searched online for Isis knife tactical training videos, just two months later began keeping notes on his phone on how to make homemade bombs.
He also expressed a desire to travel to Syria to ‘help people’.
The judge said King had recorded a video at Stratford train station of a uniformed police officer.
He also had his Whatsapp status to ‘kill the non-Muslims, wherever you see them’.
He purchased a number of ‘special op’ items, including ‘tactical gloves’ and a camouflage jacket.
Commander Dominic Murphy, who leads the Metropolitan Police’s counter terrorism command, said members of the public who reported Matthew King’s extremist behaviour helped police foil an ‘imminent terrorist attack’.
King’s mother contacted Prevent after becoming concerned over materials he was watching which ‘promoted hatred’.
His family also said they noticed his behaviour had become more extreme.
The court heard King exchanged messages with someone known as Miss A, where he said he wanted to wage war and train for jihad.
In one comment, he wrote: ‘Tbh [to be honest] I just want to get my hands on an American marine or British marine.’
Whilst in custody King also said he wanted to ‘kill and Imam’.