Young soldier jailed for making nail bomb
A young soldier who was obsessed with far-right politics has been jailed for two years for making a viable nail bomb packed with deadly shrapnel in his bedroom.
Rifleman Ryan McGee's home-made device contained 181 metal screws and bits of glass which were designed to maximise wounding capability when it was set off.
Police found the bomb when they raided his three-bedroom family home in Eccles, near Manchester, on an unrelated matter last November.
The court heard that he was interested in the English Defence League but was not a member and had watched a horrific video of men being bound and executed under a swastika flag.
The 20-year-old loner had previously admitted buying the Anarchist Cookbook and making the nail bomb and was sentenced today.
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.
"What you have lost is your reputation and your future but I hope in due course you can make amends for that."
Earlier, prosecutor Roger Smart said: "This case involves a young man, a serving soldier, who hand-made a viable bomb in the bedroom of his childhood home in Eccles, Manchester.
"He surfed the internet, he bought supplies, and he watched videos and read books about how to make explosive devices."
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 November 28 last year.
When an officer found a "suspicious device" in a bedroom, bomb disposal experts were called in and counter-terrorism police launched an investigation.
At the time he was arrested, McGee was serving with Bravo Company of the 5th Battalion the Rifles before being deployed to barracks in Germany.
Photos of his bedroom showed he had a "keen interest in the English Defence League", the lawyer said.
However, he was not a member of the EDL despite attending one of their marches and displaying the "No Surrender" insignia flag and an EDL T-shirt and jumper - all bought for him by his mother for his 18th birthday.
The defendant admitted an interest in fireworks and explosives but "the haul of imitation firearms ammunition and IED (improvised explosive device) components suggests a preoccupation that goes far beyond any amateur enthusiast's collection", Mr Smart said.
McGee kept a journal entitled Ryan's Story Book with stickers of Scooby Doo and birds on the front filled with drawings of guns, machetes, knuckledusters and knives and images of several paramilitary soldiers.
It also contained references to right-wing groups such as the National Front, KKK and BNP, the court heard.
He had an obsession with real-life events on YouTube and the internet, including footage of two bound and gagged men beneath a swastika flag, one being beheaded and the other executed by a gunshot to the head.
His laptop had links to websites including gore videos, French Skinheads, Russian Racism, Handguns for sale UK and Germany, and YouTube videos of EDL marches against Muslims and Nazi youth.
The prosecutor accepted he was not a terrorist or intended to help a terrorist group.
When he was interviewed by police, McGee said he made the bomb while on leave "out of boredom" and that he was interested in right wing politics because he did not like mass immigration.
Defending, Antony Chinn QC said McGee had been an immature teenager at the time, as demonstrated by the Scooby Doo notebook.
He said: "Although he accepts he made the device he never intended to put it to any violent purpose."
McGee, a fifth generation Army man, was "a bit of a loner" who was brought up with far-right views, he said.
The judge told the court it was an "unusual and worrying case" in particular because of the violent drawings and extreme observations of the defendant.
He sentenced McGee to 12 months in jail for a charge of possessing a document containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism between May 31 2013 and November 29 2013 at Salford in Greater Manchester.
McGee was further jailed for 24 months for a second charge that between September 1 2013 and September 3 2013 at Salford he made an explosive device. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
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."