A 15-year-old who is Britain's youngest convicted terrorist will serve at least five years in prison for encouraging an ISIS plot to behead Australian soldiers.
The teen, whose name has not been released, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday, but under British law he will be eligible for release after five years if he is no longer considered dangerous.
According to prosecutors, the teen encouraged another young ISIS supporter in Australia to attack police officers. When he was only 14, he began messaging Australian Sevdet Besim, 18, encouraging him to behead officers at a parade in Melbourne.
The two teens sent more than 3,000 messages in nine days, with the Brit telling Besim to get his “first taste of beheading” and to "buy a machete and sharpen it, run over a police officer and then decapitate him," the New York Times reported.
The 15-year-old hatched the parade plan in his bedroom in suburban Lancashire in northwest England. He also talked about beheading his teachers and had a "hit list" of who he wanted to kill, the court heard.
Police arrested him in April for threatening his teachers at school, and the messages found on his phone led to the arrests of Besim and four other young men in Australia. The British teen pled guilty in July to inciting terror abroad; Besim is facing trial in Australia.
The boy may have to share the title of Britain's youngest person convicted of terrorism—a 15-year-old girl was arrested in East London in July in a separate case of supporting terrorism, and she also awaits trial.
Other teenagers have been convicted or pled guilty to supporting ISIS here in the U.S., but none as young as the 15-year-old, according to data compiled by the Washington Post. Ali Shukri Amin, a Virginia 16-year-old, was sentenced to 11 years in prison in August for encouraging people to join the terrorist group.
Casey Tolan is a National News Reporter for Fusion based in New York City.