Glenrothes mosque terror plot accused ‘started to hate Muslims’

A man who allegedly planned to attack a mosque started to “hate” Muslims after reading far right political posts on the internet, a court has heard.

Sam Imrie, 24, denies charges including under the Terrorism Act.

Mr Imrie, of Glenrothes, Fife, told the High Court in Edinburgh how he became interested in extremist politics.

He said he turned to a website “8Chan” as he did not believe the mainstream media was properly discussing the reasons for Islamic terrorism attacks.

He told defence counsel Jim Keegan he became interested in why there were so many attacks taking place as he grew up.

The court heard he had left school at 14, and had developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after being assaulted.

He told the court that he was never serious about carrying out a terrorism attack on a mosque.

“I wasn’t really caring if I lived or died. I was just trying to offend people with my posts online,” he told the court.

“I was at a point in my life really when everybody my age had jobs, had got their own houses, had got married and even had kids. I was living like a 12-year-old really just drinking every day.”

‘Wanted to shock them’

He said he started researching Nazism.

“I wanted to see what their perspective was so I started searching for information about their point of view,” he said.

“They were talking about Islamic terrorism. They were saying that all Muslims were responsible and they were all playing their part. I believed it.”

He said he did not know any Muslims at the time he was reading this information.

“It just made me hate Muslims really,” he added.

Mr Keegan said some of the messages posted by the accused on a mobile phone instant messaging app stated that he was going to set fire to Fife Islamic Centre in Glenrothes.

The accused told the court that he was pretending to fellow users on the group that footage showed him burning down a mosque.

He added: “I just wanted to put it online and shock them.”

‘Deserved it’

Mr Keegan asked: “How do you feel about the things you did say?”

He replied: “Sick.”

Mr Keegan asked: “Did you mean them?”

He answered: “No.”

When he was asked whether he ever intended to carry out acts of violence towards or damage to property owned by Muslims, the accused replied: “No.”

He agreed that he regarded the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacker Brenton Tarrant as a “hero”, the court heard.

He said that he watched footage made by Tarrant of his attack – which left 51 dead – three or four times.

He told prosecutor Lisa Gillespie QC: “I believed at the time that they deserved it.”

Mr Imrie was giving evidence on the ninth day of proceedings.

The trial, before Lord Mulholland, continues on Tuesday.

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