Britain’s youngest convicted terrorist, who was jailed for his part in a plot to behead police officers in Australia when he was 14 years old, is seeking to keep his identity secret by asking the courts for lifelong anonymity.
The teenager, from Blackburn, Lancashire, referred to as RXG during his trial for inciting terrorism, was granted anonymity until adulthood by a judge in 2015 because of fears his case could inspire copycat plots.
He was jailed for life in October 2015 for convincing Australian jihadist Sevdet Besim, then 18, to plot an attack in Melbourne on Anzac Day.
RXG will be eligible for release in 2020 after serving a minimum term of five years on the condition he no longer poses a threat to the public.
Lawyers for RXG will argue for lifelong anonymity citing his right to privacy under human rights law and his desire for a second chance, according to the Sunday Times. The move is unprecedented in a terrorism case in the UK. If it is granted, RXG will join some of the country’s most high-profile offenders whose identities are protected, including Jon Venables, Robert Thompson and Maxine Carr.
The teenager’s lawyers will have to successfully convince a high court judge that RXG is at serious risk from reprisals if his identity becomes public knowledge or that it would affect his rehabilitation.
Children are normally given anonymity in criminal proceedings, but judges can choose to name offenders upon conviction in the most serious cases, such as the trial of Alex Bolland and Thomas Wyllie, who were named on Friday for plotting a Columbine-style attack on their school in Yorkshire.
In March 2015, a court heard that RXG exchanged from his bedroom more than 3,000 encrypted messages with Sevdet Besim, encouraging Besim to murder police officers guarding an Anzac Day event in Melbourne by beheading them. The plot was foiled by Australian police.
The court also heard how RXG had previously been radicalised by online Islamic State propaganda.
Roy James, who was Maxine Carr’s former lawyer, told the Sunday Times: “Everybody has a right to family and private life. He [RXG] would have to demonstrate that there is a real risk to him — as we did in Maxine’s case.”