An A-level student who read Mein Kampf at age ten and shared instructions on how to make bombs and throw grenades has been jailed for terror offences.
Malakai Wheeler was handed an extended prison sentence for sharing terrorism documents, which included instructions on how to make bombs and other types of weapons.
The 18-year-old of Swindon, Wiltshire, was convicted of six charges including possessing copies of the Terrorist Handbook, the Anarchist’s Handbook and a document called Homemade Detonators in early 2021.
He was also convicted of sharing 92 documents and 35 images in a chatroom, as well as two other charges of sharing instructions for the use of items which could be used to perform acts of terror, including smoke grenades.
He denied all charges but was convicted by a jury. He will serve one year on licence, meaning his total sentence was an ‘extended prison sentence’ of seven years.
When the student of Marling School in Stroud, Gloucestershire, was arrested, his electrical devices revealed a ‘hoard’ of Right-wing material, literature and manifestos of known terrorists.
Malakai Wheeler was handed an extended prison sentence for sharing terrorism documents, which included instructions on how to make bombs and other types of weapons
He was just 15 when he began sharing bomb guides online on his own channel on Telegram, an online messaging service, in August 2020. His profile picture contained a Swastika emblem.
Winchester Crown Court heard how in 142 documents posted to his own online collection, the works of Adolf Hitler, Holocaust denier David Irving, British fascist leader Oswald Mosley and terrorists who had committed mass shootings were uploaded.
Wheeler, who began reading Mein Kampf at age ten after being given the book as a Christmas present from his mother, also had manifestos of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist, and Brenton Tarrant, the New Zealand terrorist.
In early 2021, he passed an ‘online white supremacy test’ and was permitted entry into an extremist group on Telegram.
The court heard that the group’s purpose was the provide a place for ‘white nationalists’ with ‘racial hatred, anti-Semitism and more sinister desire to engage in violence’.
He was just 15 when he began sharing bomb guides online on his own channel on Telegram, an online messaging service, in August 2020 (pictured at Winchester Crown Court)
It was when part of this group that he posted the documents and images to ‘demonstrate his worth’. He sent so much content another member advised him to ‘take a breather’.
During the trial, prosecutor Brett Weaver told the court: ‘This defendant was able to share documents and other material that amongst other things provided instructions for the manufacture of explosives and how to make an improvised firearm.
‘The defendant had a deep-seated and sustained interest in Right-wing extremism. Through his use of Telegram he was able to engage with others who shared his extreme ideology and mindset.
‘The nature of the documents have a number of broad themes, including explosives, weapons, terrorism, ideology, combat and self-defence and personal security.
‘Malakai Wheeler was someone who willingly embraced the ideology of those who supported nationalism.’
Barrister Abigail Bright, defending, said in mitigation that Wheeler ‘lacked maturity’ and was ‘reckless’.
She added that since being in custody Wheeler has attended counselling ‘freely’.
‘His demeanour in those five sessions and his attitude is such that it shows a serious prospect of this man’s rehabilitation,’ she said.
The items inside the ‘survival kit’ in a shoe box
The items of the ‘survival kit’ were hidden in a shoebox collected when Wheeler was arrested
Wheeler told the court he had an interest in national socialism as well as anti-Zionism and admitted using a Nazi swastika as part of his profile image on the social media platform Telegram.
Giving evidence, he said he downloaded the documents because he wanted to create an archive of items he believed would be deleted from Telegram and the internet.
He said he viewed terrorist and other violent videos out of ‘morbid curiosity’.
He accepted being photographed in a skull mask and doing a Nazi salute but denied being a white supremacist.
Judge Jane Miller KC said Wheeler has been entrenched in his views for a long time, and called him ‘cold and calculating’.
‘You had clearly become deeply interested in Right-wing socialism and Nazism and all of its connotations,’ the judge told him.
‘You were given Mein Kampf, you said, and started reading it from age ten or 11. You said you are not a racist or white supremacist, and did not endorse the group and that you were going through the motions.
‘In reality, you are a deeply entrenched racist and white supremacist with an extreme Right-wing mindset with a sinister interest in violence and insurrection.
‘Listening to your evidence was deeply disturbing and chilling, particularly coming from a man who was just 16. I find you intended to encourage others to engage in terrorist activity. I simply have to say you are dangerous.
‘You came across as cold and calculating and you have no remorse as far as I can see.
‘In my view, anyone that can encourage acts of violence simply has to be viewed as an obvious danger to the public.’
She added that Wheeler was brought up by his father, who was ‘anti-Semitic and a holocaust denier’.
Detective Chief Superintendent James Dunkerley, head of Counter-Terrorism Policing North East, said: ‘Although only 16 at the time of his arrest, Wheeler was deeply entrenched in a Telegram chat group committed to extreme Right-wing ideology.
‘He was not simply curious or a passive observer within the group. He clearly shared the same mindset as other members and was very active when it came to promoting racist and anti-Semitic views and propaganda.
‘It is important young people recognise the potential impact of their online activity, before they cross a line into criminality or engage in harmful or dangerous behaviours.’