Man facing terrorism charges wanted to carry out mass murder, court told

PA

A man has gone on trial accused of intending to commit acts of terrorism and expressing a “desire to carry out a spree killing mass murder”.

Gabrielle Friel, 22, is said to have had a crossbow, scope, crossbow arrows, a machete and a ballistic vest in connection with this at various locations in Edinburgh between June 1 and August 16 last year, including his home, a social work centre and a hospital.

He is also accused of preparing for terrorist acts by conducting online research in relation to spree killings during this time, particularly those expressing motivation from or affiliation with incels – involuntary celibates.

Police officer stabbing
Police officer stabbing

Friel is said to have “expressed affinity with and sympathy for one incel-motivated mass murderer” and to have expressed “a desire to carry out a spree killing mass murder”.

He is alleged to have test-fired the crossbow at a drinks can at his home at 163/2 Comely Bank Road, Edinburgh.

The 22-year-old is also accused of expressing an intention – at the Orchard Clinic, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, and a social work centre in the city on August 14 and 16 last year – to commit a terrorist attack.

Friel, who is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, has denied all charges against him.

The jury heard the Crown may lead evidence to the effect that at Edinburgh College’s Granton campus and elsewhere between November 2017 and February 2018, Friel expressed an intention to commit an attack and stabbed an on-duty police officer, endangering his life.

The court heard agreed evidence that Friel ordered the crossbow, bolts, telescopic sight, machete and ballistic vest online and had them delivered to his home last summer.

Giving evidence, a former classmate on a computing and digital media course at the college said Friel brought a knife on campus and said he was planning an attack.

Jordan Wilson, 21, told the court that Friel sent him a Facebook message on November 6 2017 telling him not to go into class “because there will be an attack at the college”.

He said he was already on site and met Friel, asking him why he sent the message.

Mr Wilson said: “He replied that he was being bullied online and he was going to hold someone hostage in the cafeteria that day.

“He showed me a knife that was in his bag.”

The court heard Mr Wilson told police on the day that Friel said he was “planning to attack the cafeteria with a knife that he had bought”.

Mr Wilson said he was scared after seeing the 8in knife, spoke to a classmate and called police.

The trial, before Judge Lord Beckett, continues.

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