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Scot accused of terror act plan was ‘kidding on’ about fire attack, trial hears

A Scot accused of planning to live stream a terrorist attack was “kidding on” about setting fire to the Fife Islamic Centre, his trial heard.

Sam Imrie, 24, is accused of preparing to commit acts of terrorism and suggesting online that he planned to attack the centre in Glenrothes.

Defence lawyer Jim Keegan QC told the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday that a “con was being carried out by the accused that he was some kind of Nazi-type fireraiser”.

His client had been in conversation with users on a “fascist” channel called @Fashwaveartists on the Telegram instant messaging service.

Imrie’s posts included videos, uploaded on July 4 2019 and shown to the jury, of the Fife Islamic Centre’s exterior and later a clip of a fire burning on the ground.

The court was also shown CCTV from the centre on the same day. Detective Constable Jonathan Leitch, who works in counter-terrorism with Police Scotland, described how a blue Ford Fiesta could be seen parking there.

The officer said a male inside the car took images of the centre while a petrol can could be seen on its passenger seat.

Jim Keegan QC is defending Sam Imrie.

DC Leitch said the driver began filming the centre, walking round the building, before twice trying a door which appeared to be locked then driving off.

Cross examining the witness, Mr Keegan said it was “obvious” Imrie was communicating with users on Telegram while filming the centre.

DC Leitch agreed.

Mr Keegan suggested Imrie was “kidding on he was going to commit some crime at the Islamic centre”. He added his client could’ve poured petrol on the building and set a blaze but he didn’t.

DC Leitch agreed that was the case.

Mr Keegan said Imrie posted on Telegram that he was moving on to “Location 2” which the QC described as actually being an “abandoned building” – an “old hospital or something” – and that’s where the fire was set.

DC Leitch replied: “Yes.”

Mr Keegan said Imrie was “trying to suggest” to the Telegram users that this derelict structure had something to do with the Fife Islamic Centre, adding a “con was being carried out by the accused that he was some kind of Nazi-type fireraiser”.

Brenton Tarrant carried out the Christchurch mosques mass shootings in New Zealand in 2019.
Brenton Tarrant carried out the Christchurch mosques mass shootings in New Zealand in 2019.

Mr Keegan said some users were variously calling Imrie a “sperg, autistic, or a fed” while he made posts. He added: “Either way they thought he was a fraud?”

DC Leitch replied: “Later on, yes.”

The jury had earlier been shown a Telegram post from Imrie which read: “No guns, all I can do is burn them down.”

The trial saw posts from some users aiming insults and criticism at Imrie, who had previously called Muslims “parasites”.

After posting a video of the centre, Imrie put up a clip showing a fire burning on the ground and a hand holding a petrol can.

A channel user asked, “What are you burning?” while another said, “Looks like an abandoned building”.

Imrie posted: “That’s the Islamic Centre next to the woods, r****d. I’m going to jail.”

Imrie is accused of "glorifying" terror attacks by Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik.
Imrie is accused of “glorifying” terror attacks by Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik.

Imrie, who denies all nine charges against him, is accused of publishing or causing another person to publish statements, images and video footage on Facebook and Telegram glorifying terrorist acts committed by terrorists Brenton Tarrant and Anders Breivik.

He is accused of posting statements on Telegram indicating he planned to stream live footage of “an incident” and posting statements suggesting he was going to carry out an attack on the Fife Islamic Centre.

Prosecutors allege Imrie collected information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism between June 20 and July 4 2019.

The trial continues.




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