‘Time for extreme civil disobedience’: Joker-inspired teen guilty of plotting college massacre

© Ralph Freso
A British teenager found guilty of plotting a Columbine-style massacre was obsessed with US high school shooters and Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”

Liam Lyburd, 19, was hours away from carrying out a killing spree at Newcastle College, a further education institution where 18,000 young people study, using a handgun and homemade bombs when police raided his home.

A jury at Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court on Thursday found him guilty of eight counts of possessing weapons with intent to endanger life.

At the time of his arrest in November 2014, Lyburd was in possession of a Glock semi-automatic handgun, 94 expanding bullets and a cache of pipe bombs.

He will be sentenced on September 25.

During the trial, the court heard that Lyburd was obsessed with Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in the Batman film “The Dark Knight” and admired US high school shooters and Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.

He used the online alias Felix Theodore Burns because he considered his own name to be boring.

A police tipoff from a concerned Facebook friend led to a raid on Lyburd’s home, where police found dark web-sourced firearms and explosives.

Detectives also found a “kill bag” containing gloves, boots, overalls and a gas mask.

Lyburd said he planned to carry out a massacre at Newcastle College using a pistol and bombs and carry out an attack on the city’s metro system with knives and lethal gas.

He told police he would have committed the crimes within hours, but he was stopped when his home was raided by officers.

Lyburd had written about taking vengeance against the college, which expelled him for bad behavior two years earlier, in a computer file recovered by a specialist after it was deleted.

In the document he had written: “I’ll teach you people a little lesson on respect with my 9mm jacketed hollow points. It’s time for extreme civil disobedience.

Fantasy will become reality today for sure. Where the mind goes the body will follow and, yes, people will die, there’s no question about that.”

Lyburd had admitted nine charges relating to making five pipe bombs, two explosive devices and possessing a 9mm Luger Caliber Glock gun, 94 jacketed hollow point expanding bullets and CS gas.

When jurors returned their guilty verdict, Lyburd made a gun gesture with his hand and pointed at his head.

Judge Paul Sloan QC suggested the teenager would be punished severely for the crimes.

He told Lyburd: “You will appreciate that only a very substantial sentence in custody is appropriate in the circumstances of this case.”