Home   News   National   Article

Glenrothes mosque attack: Suspect had racist images on computer, court hears


By PA News

Easier access to your trusted, local news. Have a look at our brand new digital subscription packages!



A computer seized from a man on trial for terrorism offences contained thousands of racist images, a court has heard.

The Apple Mac computer contained thousands of images that were “anti-Jewish, anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-everything”, a police expert told the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday.

One such image was a photoshopped picture of the pop star Taylor Swift, manipulated to show swastikas in the lenses of her sunglasses, the “SS” nazi military symbol on her shirt, with the words “1488 world tour”, numbers which are associated with neo-Nazism.

The computer also contained 29 child sexual exploitations images.

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

Two copies of the book Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, three copies of The Great Replacement by the Christchurch mass killer, Brenton Tarrant, a manifesto by convicted terrorist Anders Breivik and two documents related to making knives were also found, the court heard.

Giving evidence, Robert Steer, 51, a cybercrime leader in digital forensics for the police, told the court he could not recall seeing that amount of racist images on one computer in his time in the job.

The court heard that two accounts for the photo-sharing app SnapChat were found on the computer, with the usernames “n*****killer148” and “racewarplz”, which Steer told the court could be translated as “race war please”.

Of the child sexual exploitation images, one was classed as “category B” under the UK’s child abuse image database (CAID), and a further 28 were classed as category C.

Category B relates to “images involving non-penetrative sexual activity with a child”, while category C relates to “other indecent images” that could include children “posing in their underwear with a sexual element to it”, Mr Steer told the court.

There were no category A images, the court heard, which relates to penetrative sex.

Sam Imrie had a copy of a book by Brenton Tarrant who murdered 51 people in a mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand (PA)
Sam Imrie had a copy of a book by Brenton Tarrant who murdered 51 people in a mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand (PA)

Some of the images, which were created between June 19 and July 3 2019, appeared to have been edited, which Mr Steer called “unusual”.

The images had text added to them, which said “Rape the c***, rape it now” and “I won’t tell anyone, anon. Please let me SUCC”.

An image described as a pre-pubescent female in black clothing had the text “rape it now” imposed on it.

Mr Steer said the words, text and font used were similar to that on some of the racist images found, but that he could not say for certain that this meant they had been edited by the computer owner.

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”, and that that he took, or permitted to be taken or made, indecent photographs of children.

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

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”.

Detective Constable Melanie Hamblett, who led the police interview with the accused, told the court Imrie had undergone a vulnerability assessment as part of standard procedure, to examine his suitability to be interviewed.

The court heard Imrie was a self-harmer, was shown photos of cuts to his arms, and that the last such incident had happened a few months before his interview.

Imrie attempted suicide in 2018, and had been treated in hospital after consuming four litres of vodka, the court heard. He had not attempted suicide again since then.

The court also heard Imrie had previously been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by a psychiatrist.

Defence solicitor advocate Jim Keegan QC put it to Ms Hamblett that the accused had co-operated throughout the police interview.

“When you went and checked there was nothing that contradicted significantly what he told you?” he said.

“Not significantly, no,” Ms Hamblett replied.

“He also accepted he posted things about bombing people, but he discounted any intent,” Mr Keegan said.

Ms Hamblett replied: “That would be fair to say.”

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.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

Keep up-to-date with important news from your community, and access exclusive, subscriber only content online. Read a copy of your favourite newspaper on any device via the brand new HNM App.

Learn more


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More