Video of mass murderer watched by terror accused shown to jury

The jury in the trial of a man said to have “expressed affinity with and sympathy for one incel-motivated mass murderer” has been shown video footage of a killer in the US who he is said to have idolised.

Gabrielle Friel is accused of intending to commit acts of terrorism in charges covering June 1 and August 16 last year.

The 22-year-old is further 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.

Edinburgh Stock
Edinburgh Stock

At the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday, advocate depute Richard Goddard QC described how US killer Elliot Rodger recorded the video – which featured several different clips edited together – up to the eve of his attack in 2014.

He killed three people in his California apartment and failed to break into a sorority house – his intended target – before instead killing another three people on the street and then himself after an exchange with police.

The court was shown a seven-minute excerpt of the video – which it has been established Friel has previously watched.

In it, Rodger talks about “revenge against humanity”, discusses how “tomorrow will be the day of retribution”, being forced to adhere to rejection and being a virgin at 22.

He also says: “You girls have never been attracted to me … I will punish you for it.”

Rodger then goes on to describe how his attack would be a “slaughter” of girls who he deemed to be “spoiled” and “sluts”, while laughing to himself.

On Tuesday, the court heard Friel’s social worker Sarah Drummond emailed Dr Alexander Quinn saying the accused was “very fixated on (almost idolising) Elliot Rodger and he feels just like him”.

Dr Stephane Baele, a senior lecturer in politics at the University of Exeter, who has advised the UK Home Office on online security, earlier appeared via video link at the trial.

He described Rodger as the most notorious case of an incel-inspired violence.

Mr Goddard asked if idolising Rodger is typical of someone who adheres to the ideology of incel, to which the expert replied: “Idolising Elliot Rodger is indeed a typical trait of self-identified incels.”

The QC also asked if Dr Baele agreed the incel ideology is not well known to the public, to which he replied: “Not too aware compared to other extremist communities online.”

In a report prepared for the trial, Dr Baele says: “I define incels as an online community whose members understand society to be hierarchised along sex and attractiveness lines that favour women and exclude men who are not good looking for any romantic or sexual relationship – forcing them into involuntary celibacy.”

He added incels communicate in forums of an “online subculture” with “sharply misogynistic views” including: “Incels feel women owe them sex”.

Another chapter of Dr Baele’s report explores the “manosphere”, with its main concern being the “feminisation of the world”.

Dr Baele carried out his report with information provided on Friel’s Google searches, website browsing activity and the views he expressed to Ms Drummond and Dr Quinn.

The expert’s report said “the internet data only points to indirect contact with ideological content” without the full content of activity.

He also suggested to the court that the online activity was “not coherent”.

Friel 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 denies all charges against him and the trial, before judge Lord Beckett, continues.