A man who plotted to attack an LGBTI pride event with a machete has been found guilty of planning a terror offence.
Ethan Stables planned to kill people attending the event at New Empire pub in a town in Cumbria in north-west England last June, The Guardian reported.
The 20-year-old was arrested unarmed outside the venue by police on the night of the event, but police alleged they found weapons including a machete, knives and an axe at his home. The jury heard he had material in the flat that could be used to make a credible bomb.
He was found guilty by the jury of planning an act of terrorism, making threats to kill and of possessing explosives, according to the Guardian.
Stables’ plot unravelled when a member of a far-right Facebook group contacted police after Stables posted a message claiming he was “going to war” and that he planned to “walk in with a machete and slaughter every single one of the gay bastards” at the venue.
Police camera footage showed a Nazi flag on his bedroom wall and examination of his devices found searches for “how to make chemical poison”, “what is prison like for a murderer” and “I want to go on a killing spree”.
The jury was shown video of Stables burning a rainbow flag while saying, “So much nicer when it’s on fire. It’s just like gay people. Much nicer when they’re on fire.”
Stables claimed he wrote the posts to impress his friends online and came out as bisexual during the trial, confirming he had sexual encounters with men.
During the trial, his barrister described him as “lonely and inadequate” and argued that he was only a “white fantasist” and not a white supremacist.
Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford told the court during the trial those claims were “nonsense” before calling Stables a white supremacist and Nazi supporter.
“Between 2016 and his arrest in 2017, he was planning and preparing to commit acts of terrorism directed towards members of these groups but, primarily, directed towards people who were lesbian or gay,” he said.
“His purpose in these acts of preparation was to launch a murderous attack on members of these communities – in particular, the prosecution suggests, people who were gay.”
Stables will remain in custody ahead of his sentencing on Wednesday.