Glenrothes mosque attack: Suspect said arson plan was a joke, court told

Sam Imrie, 24, denies all of the nine charges against him, three of which come under the Terrorism Act.

The High Court in Edinburgh
The High Court in Edinburgh

A man on trial for terrorism offences told police he threatened to burn down a mosque as a “joke”, a court has heard.

Sam Imrie has been charged with posting statements on social media platform Telegram suggesting he was going to carry out an attack on the Fife Islamic Centre in Glenrothes, Fife.

The 24-year-old has also been accused of planning to stream live footage of “an incident”.

On Thursday, the High Court in Edinburgh heard a recording of an interview carried out with the accused by police on July 8 2019.

Alex Salmond court case
Sam Imrie is standing trial at the High Court in Edinburgh where he is accused of nine offences – three of which come under the Terrorism Act (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The accused told police that he was a “white nationalist”. When asked what that meant, he replied: “It means I care about my race.”

Imrie denied that he thought white people are superior to non-whites, saying he believed the Chinese were superior.

He made no response when put to him that that view “flies in the face of white nationalism”.

The court previously heard how the accused made a series of derogatory remarks about minority groups on the messaging app Telegram.

Imrie blamed his actions on alcohol.

On posts made online, when he said he hated “jews, muslims and n*****s”, he said: “I would never say that sober.”

Asked if he thought his drinking legitimised it, he replied: “I didn’t say that.”

Asked about his visit to the Fife Islamic Centre in July 2019, which he had threatened to burn down on the Telegram app, Imrie said: “It was a joke.”

Imrie was also asked about posts in which he glorified Brenton Tarrant, the man behind the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019, which claimed 51 lives, and Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in a terror attack in Norway in 2011.

“I wouldn’t do that,” Imrie told police. He denied he saw the men as heroes.

Put to him that he had agreed with their actions in posts made online, he said he had done so “as a joke”.

Imrie agreed that members of the Telegram chat group of which he was a part had “seen through him”.

“You were never going to burn it down, it was all for show?” the interviewer asked him.

The accused replied: “Yes.”

Among other charges, Imrie is accused of being in possession of neo-Nazi, antisemitic and anti-Muslim material, extreme pornography, including indecent images of children, and an image involving a human corpse.

He is also charged with driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol in July 2019.

He denies all of the nine charges against him, three of which come under the Terrorism Act.

The trial, before Lord Mulholland, continues.

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