Terrorism trial jury shown crossbow and machete recovered by police

Weapons including a crossbow and a machete have been shown to a jury during the trial of a man accused of intending to commit acts of terrorism.

Gabrielle Friel is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh also accused of expressing a “desire to carry out a spree killing mass murder”.

The 22-year-old is said to have had a crossbow, arrows, scope, machete and 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.

Items recovered by police were presented to the court during evidence from Khaldoun Kabbani, a forensic scientist from the Scottish Police Authority who focuses on ballistics and weapons, including the science of bullets and projectiles.

A report suggests the crossbow was in “good external condition” and “in working order”, with the specifications stating it could fire arrows at 340ft per second and had a draw weight of 175lb.

When advocate depute Richard Goddard asked if that was a considerable weight, Mr Kabbani replied “yes”.

Mr Goddard also asked about the registration of crossbows, to which Mr Kabbani read out a document stating they “cannot be considered firearms” but there is legislation on the sale of those with a draw weight over 1.4kg (3lb).

The crossbow shown to the jury on Wednesday had a draw weight of 79kg (175lb), according to another document.

Mr Goddard asked what damage this could cause, to which Mr Kabbani highlighted the steel tip arrows could pierce the “flesh and vital organs”, with many factors contributing to potential injury, such as wearing protection.

The advocate asked if it was “capable of killing someone” and Mr Kabbani replied: “Correct.”

The court was also shown three packets of five arrows, with the report saying one had been damaged with the steel tip and part of the shaft missing.

Edinburgh Stock
The court has heard Friel appeared to ‘almost idolise’ US killer Elliot Rodger (Andrew Milligan/PA)

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

Mr Kabbani said while one “empty Pepsi can appears to be pierce-damaged” and could have been caused by an arrow, he added: “Other methods of damage cannot be ruled out.”

The vest was also shown to the court and worn by Mr Kabbani, who said it did not have the protective plates that would make it bullet or stabproof.

Brian Gilfedder, Friel’s lawyer, asked if someone would be able to tell from a distance if the plates were there, to which Mr Kabbani replied: “No.”

Friel 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.

He is said to have “expressed affinity with and sympathy for one incel-motivated mass murderer” and the jury previously heard he appeared to “almost idolise” US killer Elliot Rodger.

Friel 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.

He has denied all charges against him and the trial before judge Lord Beckett continues.

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