Lloyd Gunton was sentenced to life in prison after he had been found guilty of planning a terror attack. The 17-year-old teenager was found by police armed with knives and hammers, and a search of his phone and computer revealed a wealth of evidence regarding his intentions.
Police found communications with people from ISIS, a martyrdom letter, and research focused on Cardiff’s geography and upcoming events, including a Justin Bieber concert. Police also found footage of the Nice and Berlin attacks on his phone, as well as detailed research on the murder of Lee Rigby.
17-year-old Lloyd Gunton locked up over Cardiff terror plans https://t.co/R77slmCAWG— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) 2 March 2018
The CPS told the court,
“On June 15 - 'Vehicle mounting pavement', 'car ploughs through a crowd', 'Google maps - Castle quarter, Cardiff'.
“What legitimate reason could the defendant have for searching that? The Crown say none. This, the Crown say, is attack planning - looking for areas in Cardiff where there are lots of people you can attack
“The harm in which Gunton intended to cause was that of mass murder. By using a vehicle to drive into a crowd of people and then use a knife to gut and cut them - similar to what occurred during the Westminster attack. The Crown say Gunton's intention was mass murder on the streets of Cardiff.”
One of Gunton’s online posts read:
“Oh my Islamic state brothers you are the role models of these worlds.
“The attack on Cardiff will be deadly. May the infidels be hit by vehicles and in the name of Allah may the blood be shed of non-believers.
“Stop bombing the homeland Theresa May. May Allah bring terrorism to Cardiff on June 30, 2017.”
Gunton had also posted threatening images to Instagram with captions reading, “Cardiff are you prepared?” alongside images of explosives, knives and the ISIS flag. Research shows Gunton intended to commit his crime on 30 June, the day he was arrested.
The judge addressed the court during Gunton’s sentencing, saying,
“It is not possible to estimate how many people would have been murdered or seriously injured by your actions, as the attack was foiled before you could undertake it. I am sure that you planned not just the killing of one person but rather mass murder.
“In my judgement, I must pass an indeterminate sentence. Your actions show a total disregard for human life. I cannot foresee a time when I can be confident that your danger will have ended or decreased sufficiently to enable me to pass a determinate or extended sentence.”
Gunton was arrested in Llantrisant, South Wales where he lived with his father and step-mother. The boy was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a child and grew up in a Christian household. Strangely, he had not converted to Islam but did possess an obsession with suicide. Prosecutors believe it was that obsession that evolved into an interest in mass attacks on the public.
The judge stated that the length of time and deliberate planning marked Lloyd out as threat to the public, and that his condition was one he would “not recover from”, meaning he would need supervision for the rest of his life.
Lloyd Gunton, 17, given life sentence today for plotting a #Terror attack in #Cardiff including at a #JustinBieber concert https://t.co/tIYICWwV49. Photos: Bomb belt and composite image he posted on #instagram and hammer found in his bedroom pic.twitter.com/gp6XjXgtCf— CPS (@cpsuk) 2 March 2018
During sentencing Lloyd showed no emotion. He will now serve a minimum of 11 years in prison, although the indeterminate sentence means he may spend much longer in jail.