Man jailed for 10 years over weapons haul terrorism charge

A man found guilty under the Terrorism Act of possessing weapons including a crossbow and machete has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Gabrielle Friel was found guilty of possessing the weapons at various locations in Edinburgh last summer including his home, a social work centre and a hospital in circumstances giving rise to the reasonable suspicion that possessing them was for a purpose connected with terrorism.

The 22-year-old appeared via video link at the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday where Judge Lord Beckett imposed the sentence with a five years extension subject to licence.

Crossbow
A crossbow belonging to Gabrielle Friel (Crown Office/PA)

Friel was found guilty of possessing a crossbow, scope, crossbow arrows, a machete and a ballistic vest between June 1 and August 16 last year.

A second charge that he prepared for terrorist acts by researching spree killings, particularly those connected with incels – people who are involuntarily celibate – was found not proven after a five-day trial at the court in December.

Friel denied both charges and gave evidence in his own defence during the case, saying mass shooting was a “fantasy” for him and he “felt for” incel mass murderer Elliot Rodger, but denied being an incel and described killers as “evil”.

He had told a doctor he wanted to “carry out a mass shooting” and his social worker reported he appeared to “almost idolise” Rodger.

A knife belonging to Gabrielle Friel
A knife belonging to Gabrielle Friel (Crown Office/PA)

Friel claimed he also wanted to commit “suicide by cop” when he stabbed a police officer at Edinburgh College’s Granton campus in November 2017.

He said fears he would fail a test had triggered negative thoughts of being bullied at high school in Singapore and previous attempts to take his own life, which led to further attempts before the college incident.

The court heard Friel was sentenced to 300 hours of community service after pleading guilty at a hearing in June 2018 to the stabbing, which endangered the officer’s life.

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