A teenager who was obsessed with mass murderers has been jailed for 16 years after buying a gun and ammunition online.
Kyle Davies, 19, saw those behind the massacre at Columbine High School and Norwegian extremist Anders Breivik as his poster boys.
He used the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to purchase a Glock 17 handgun and five rounds of ammunition from an online gun dealer on the dark web, ordering it to his family home in Gloucester.
Homeland Security officers intercepted the order at Newark Airport in New York and tipped off local police, who arrested Davies after delivering a dummy package to his home.
Davies insisted he had purchased the gun and ammunition in order to kill himself and denied he was planning a mass shooting.
But when officers searched his bedroom, they discovered handwritten notes and a USB stick containing more than 1,000 pages relating to explosives and massacres.
A jury unanimously convicted him of attempting to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life and attempting to possess the ammunition with intent to endanger life following a two-week trial at Gloucester Crown Court in July.
Judge Paul Cook jailed Davies, who appeared at Taunton Crown Court via video link, for 16 years and ordered that he serve an additional three years on licence.
“On June 20 last year, a parcel you had ordered from America on the dark web arrived at your home in Gloucester,” the judge told Davies.
“You had attempted to have delivered a Glock 17 handgun and five rounds of ammunition.
“That moment was the culmination of many months of methodical research and preparation.”
The court heard that Homeland Security had intercepted a package addressed to Davies at his home in Gloucester on June 18 last year.
Two days later, an undercover officer from Gloucestershire Police delivered a dummy parcel to his property at 2.30pm, with firearms teams bringing Davies outside nine hours later.
Until police began searching the teenager’s bedroom, they had no idea of the motives or inspiration behind him purchasing the weapon.
“The material they found was disturbing and chilling,” the judge said.
“The material showed extensive research on your part and an interest in mass murders.”
The court heard Davies had researched “in detail” the Columbine High School shootings, Anders Breivik and the case of Liam Lyburd, who plotted a mass murder at his former college.
“Your interest was correctly described as an obsession,” the judge told Davies.
“The material you extensively gathered over time was graphic and unpalatable. It ran to thousands of pages.
“You had taken practical steps as to how to put your plans into execution.
“You worked out your budget, which was in excess of £10,000, and you priced the equipment to assist you in carrying out a mass killing.
“In your written notes, you had left messages to the police.”
These messages included “Hello Mr Policeman” and “This one Mr Policeman” with an arrow pointing to writing about Davies’ mental state.
A note on his bedside table was entitled Gotterdammerung, or twilight of the gods, and listed equipment required for a mass shooting event.
This matched a similar document called Phase One, featuring links of where to purchase the items.
These included a gas mask, trench coat, gloves, boots, body armour and a leg pistol holder as well as ingredients for explosives.
“You were 18 at the time and you were awaiting your A-Level results,” the judge said.
“These activities were ongoing as you were revising for your A-Levels.
“You had attempted to obtain the equipment and had the intention to endanger life in a shooting event at some point in the future.
“When that was to take place and who precisely your intended target was is unclear.”
Peter Binder, representing Davies, said his client had been diagnosed with autism and depression.
“It is speculation as to how far down the road of actually carrying out some form of shooting the defendant would have got,” Mr Binder said.
He said a “perfect storm of factors” led to Davies developing a fixation with mass shootings and attempting to acquire a gun and ammunition.
“He is no longer able to lose himself in the inner workings of the internet, whether it is the normal web or the dark web,” Mr Binder said.
“His fixation, his obsession with school shootings is no longer something he is in a position to pursue.”
Davies was sentenced to a concurrent prison term of six months for two charges of making indecent images of children, relating to 250 images and two videos found on his devices.
He was also handed an eight-year term, also to run concurrently to his 16-year sentence, for evading the prohibition on the importation of firearms and ammunition.
Detective Inspector Kevin Till, from the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, said he believed a “potential mass casualty incident” had been prevented.
“It quickly became apparent that he was a very dangerous individual who not only idolised mass shooters, but had begun his own preparations to follow in their footsteps,” he said of Davies.
Gloucestershire Police Chief Constable Rod Hansen paid tribute to officers for their “diligent investigation” in bringing Davies to justice.
“Today’s sentence reflects the painstaking work multiple agencies have done in order to bring a dangerous teenager to justice,” Mr Hansen said.
“The people of Gloucestershire are safer as a result of their hard work and dedication and I appreciate their ongoing support to help us keep our local communities safe from harm.”