Published: 11:25 EST, 23 July 2015 | Updated: 21:00 EST, 23 July 2015
Trial: Liam Lyburd is accused of plotting to carry out a massacre at his former college
A teenager dressed in combat gear posed online brandishing a gun at his computer screen hours before he planned to carry out a Columbine-style attack on his former school, a court heard.
The planned massacre was only foiled when police raided Liam Lyburd’s house and found an arsenal of weapons after being contacted by a concerned friend, it was alleged.
Officers found a ‘kill bag’ stocked with an array of homemade bombs and a Glock handgun, which the school dropout said he was going to use to carry out a savage revenge attack, the jury was told.
The ‘embittered’ computer hacker laughed as he told officers he had planned to carry out the attack at his former college later that day.
In a note he wrote how he would ‘teach you people a little lesson on respect’ with his bullets, the court also heard.
Lyburd, 19, is accused of spending months building up his haul, which also included dozens of expanding ‘dum dum’ bullets, CS gas and a collection of knives.
He is said to have used the digital currency Bitcoin to buy a 9mm Luger Calibre Glock gun on the ‘dark web’ – a secret part of the internet that cannot be accessed by mainstream search engines.
Police were alerted by an online friend of the teenager who grew concerned about his Facebook posts and were led to his bedroom by his mother after visiting their home in Newcastle.
Under the words ‘b**** kill’, scrawled on his bedroom wall, they found a bag containing a balaclava, safety glasses, elbow and knee pads and a boiler suit.
The teenager then confessed to officers he had planned to attack Newcastle College and told them they had ‘saved lives’, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
The jury was told that Lyburd had developed a hatred for the college, which has more than 20,000 students, when he was thrown out in 2012 for ‘shocking’ behaviour after being enrolled for just five weeks.
Plans: Officers discovered this picture of the teenager pointing a gun while wearing a balaclava
Weapons: Lyburd used bitcoins to buy his haul of arms online, the court was told
'Highly skilled' Liam Lyburd arrives at court in Newcastle
A handwritten note found by police described how he blamed his targets for ‘ruining my whole life’. It said: ‘I’ll teach you people a little lesson on respect with my 9mm jacketed hollow points. Fantasy will become reality today for sure... and yes people will die there’s no question about that.’
The court heard how Lyburd had extensively researched guns online, watching videos on how to load and use Glock pistols.
Using pseudonyms including ‘The Joker’ and ‘I Love My Anger’, he expressed his admiration for Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people in Norway. In Skype talks with a girl in Iceland he described how he had been inspired by the Jaylen Fryberg college attack last year in the US in which four students were killed.
Investigators found images taken by Lyburd showing him dressed for combat. One, posted online under the name Felix Burns hours before his arrest, showed Lyburd in a balaclava, pointing a gun at the screen.
In his online ramblings, he also expressed his plans to kill his mother and described how he would take Valium before carrying out the attack.
Lyburd pleaded guilty to nine charges relating to making five pipe bombs, two homemade explosive devices, possessing a gun, bullets and CS gas. But he denied eight charges of possessing those items with intent to endanger life at the school.
Scene: Police outside Lyburd's house at the time of his arrest in November last year
Evidence: Forensic officers carrying away items which they gathered at the ex-student's home
Prosecutor Nick Dry said Lyburd had started amassing his weapons as early as January last year before his eventual arrest in November. Speaking of his arrest, he said: ‘He stated... that the officers had saved lives, preventing what would have otherwise been a massacre at the college.
The jury heard that after being arrested, Lyburd told detectives it had been a fantasy he had no intention of carrying out.
But Mr Dry said the prosecution did not accept this, believing he fully intended to carry out the attack. ‘It is for those reasons, says the prosecution, that this was no improbable fantasy of a naive daydreamer divorced from reality,’ he said.
He described the plot as a ‘carefully planned revenge attack, constructed and resourced by an embittered yet highly skilled and savvy computer hacker’.
The case continues.
Target: The alleged bomb plot targeted Newcastle College where Lyburd studied, the court heard
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