Teens accused of school plot filmed with bombs

September 4, 2009 3:03:21 PM PDT
Two British teens accused of planning a massacre inspired by the Columbine school shootings in the United States filmed themselves making and detonating explosives, a prosecutor said Friday. Cell phone footage shown to a jury at Manchester Crown Court in northern England appeared to show Matthew Swift, 18, and his 16-year-old friend Ross McKnight exploding a homemade pipe bomb. Other clips allegedly show the pair experimenting with a Molotov cocktail and a firework.

Both are charged with planning to bomb a shopping center before going on a rampage at their school on the 10th anniversary of the April 1999 massacre in Colorado. Prosecutor Peter Wright has said they modeled themselves on Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who killed 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School before committing suicide.

The teens deny the allegation.

Police failed to find any explosives, although Wright said Friday that a search of Swift's apartment turned up Hitler's autobiography, "Mein Kampf," and "The Turner Diaries," a novel popular with white supremacists. Police also found two films about school shootings: "Elephant" and "Zero Day."

Earlier Friday Swift's friend Alice Adshead, 18, told the jury that the teen once told her he wanted to "torch" their school.

"He wanted to torch it. His words would be quite violent, he wanted to burn it down or break windows," she said.

She also recalled that during an online conversation with Swift, some time in December, he told her: "If I ever text you not to come into college, don't question it."

She testified that, when she press him about what he meant, he told her: "I'm just in a bad mood, just leave it."

But when cross-examined by defense attorney Stephen Riordan, Adshead said she thought Swift "was just winding me up or saying things to impress other people he was with."

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