By Maisie Williams
A 17-year-old schoolboy was recently arrested after concerns that he was planning to carry out an ISIS-style terror attack at the Justin Bieber concert at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. Police and prosecutors are looking into the planned attack after the boy, who cannot be publicly named for legal reasons, published a ‘matyrdom letter’ declaring his allegiance to ISIS’s cause.
After hours of analysing the boy’s Internet searches and online posts, police strongly believe that he was radicalised online, and that the upcoming Bieber concert was to be the target of the attack. Police also found a hand-written suicide note, confirmed by fingerprint testing, in the boy’s bedroom when they arrested him at home in rural South Wales on June 30th, the day of Bieber’s Cardiff show.
The note in question read, “I am a soldier of the Islamic State. I have attacked Cardiff today because your government keeps on bombing targets in Syria and Iraq. There will be more attacks in the future”. Weapons such as a kitchen knife and a hammer were also found in the boy’s schoolbag on the night of the arrest.
It is also believed that the boy, who is from a White British background, may have been inspired by the terror attack that occurred at Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena, which had taken place a month prior to his arrest. The boy’s social media usage was also a point of concern. His Instagram account password was said to be ‘TruckAttack’, with one post on the site reading “Cardiff, are you ready for our terror”, as well as an image of Cardiff Castle, suggesting he was hinting at busy areas within the city that could be a target.
Other information found on the teenager’s computer showed a poster relating to the upcoming concert, along with evidence that he’d searched for security and gate entrances at Principality Stadium. Other searches heavily suggest that he was intending to drive a vehicle into crowds as they left the concert, emulating many recent ISIS attacks that have occurred across the UK and Western Europe.
Prosecutor Matthew Brook explains that these online searches happened just two days before the concert, and made jurors aware that the boy’s note included claims such as running down “non-believers” with a car, and fatally stabbing individuals who “oppose Allah”. The trial is currently ongoing.