Islamic State supporter jailed for three years over YouTube campaign

An extremist behind a YouTube campaign glorifying Islamic State has been jailed for three years.

Father-of-four Gary Staples, 50, drummed up support for terrorism in home-made clips posted to the video-sharing platform and Google Plus between May and September 2016.

Eight videos were created by him, while one was made by the media arm of IS terror group Al Hayat, the Old Bailey had heard.

Gary Staples court case
Gary Staples, 50, was the architect of a YouTube campaign glorifying Islamic State (Metropolitan Police/PA)

One clip featured an image of former prime minister Tony Blair with flames imposed over it, followed by a message reading: "O kuffar, sleep with one eye open."

Ben Lloyd, prosecuting, had told the court Staples published the clips to encourage members of the public to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism.

He told jurors: "Much of the material relates to Isis, Isil, Islamic State; there are also images of Osama bin Laden, for example, who, as you will no doubt know, was the leader of al Qaida."

Pictures of jailed hate preacher Anjem Choudary were also found on Staples' Google Plus account, the court was told.

The account had 1,180 followers, while his YouTube account had 67 subscribers.

Staples, from Crowther Road, South Norwood, south London had denied eight counts of encouraging terrorism and one count of sharing terrorist material.

Giving evidence, he accepted posting the Blair video but claimed two friends must have been responsible for others.

Judge Anuja Dhir QC directed jurors that they must be sure the clips were a direct encouragement for terrorism.

The jury acquitted Staples of encouraging terrorism in the Blair video but convicted him of the other charges.

Judge Dhir sentenced Staples to three years in prison.

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "Staples was clearly publishing and sharing extremist and terrorist content, with a view to encouraging others to engage with and carry out acts of terrorism.

"He tried to avoid detection by using what he thought were anonymous usernames but we were able to trace them back to him.

"He then tried to make out that other people were using his computers to post the content, but was unable to provide any details of who these people were.

"The threat from terrorism is very real and anyone posting or sharing content like Staples is committing a serious offence. Where we find evidence of this happening, we will investigate and put those responsible before the courts as we have done here.

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