28 Nov 2014

Soldier jailed for making nail bomb ‘not a terrorist’

Soldier Ryan McGee, an English Defence League supporter who admitted making a nail bomb and possessing the Anarchist Cookbook, is jailed for two years at the Old Bailey.

The 20-year-old from Eccles, Greater Manchester, made a device containing 181 metal screws and bits of glass which were designed to maximise wounding capability when it was set off.

At the time of the arrest, McGee was serving with Bravo Company of the 5th Battalion the Rifles before being deployed to barracks in Germany.

The bomb and far right material was uncovered when Greater Manchester Police searched the home where he lived with his mother Vera and two brothers in an unconnected investigation on 28 November last year.

Right-wing paraphernalia

The court heard McGee was obsessed with far-right politics, but was not a member of the English Defence League, despite attending one of their marches and being gifted with an EDL T-shirt and jumper for his 18th birthday by his mother.

He also watched a horrific video of men being bound and executed under a swastika flag, and his laptop had links to websites including gore videos, French skinheads, Russian racism, handguns for sale UK and Germany, the court was told.

The prosecutor accepted he was not a terrorist and that he did not intend to help a terrorist group. When he was interviewed by the police, the fifth generation British Army man said he made a bomb on leave “out of boredom” and that he was interested in right-wing politics because he did not like mass immigration.

Sadly, we live in a violent age. Brian Barker, recorder of London

Jailing him, Recorder of London Brian Barker said: “The fact of the matter is any explosive device in the wrong hands could cause untold misery to anyone on the receiving end.

“Sadly, we live in a violent age. Let’s be quite clear that any experimentation by anybody with these kinds of weapons must lead to severe sentences.”

‘Extremist beliefs’

Following the sentencing, Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough, from the north west counter-terrorism unit, said McGee had “stepped well over the mark of what can be considered acceptable behaviour”.

He said: “McGee had in his possession a viable improvised device and the material and knowledge of how to make it. He clearly set out to make the device, which could have seriously injured or possibly killed members of the public.

“There is no evidence of planning or intended targets but we do not under-estimate the impact that McGee’s actions and extremist beliefs may have had on communities across the country.”