Far right trial collapses after jury fails to reach verdicts

The trial of a teenager accused of plotting a Columbine-inspired massacre at his former school in Loughborough has collapsed for the second time.

The jury in the trial of Michael Piggin, 18, failed to reach a verdict after deliberating for nearly 60 hours over 12 days at the Old Bailey in London

Prosecutors said immediately afterwards that they would not seek a further retrial of the teenager, who first faced court last October, accused of planning to carry out a murderous attack on his former school, a cinema, a mosque and a council office near his home in the Midlands.

Piggin had earlier pleaded guilty to stockpiling weapons, including petrol bombs and component parts of pipe bombs, but consistently denied he intended to carry out an attack.

The collapse of the trial meant Piggin, who has Asperger’s syndrome, went straight back to custody, where he will remain until sentencing on 13 June for possessing explosives.

Over 10 weeks of evidence, the trial heard how Piggin allegedly drew up tactics for what he called “Operation: The New Columbine” in a notebook emblazoned with a Nazi swastika and the face of Che Guevara. The notebook allegedly contained a “hit list” which included his former school, a mosque, a cinema and other buildings among his supposed targets.

Piggin came to the attention of police by chance in February 2012, when he was arrested over a schoolboy skirmish and officers carried out a routine search of his bedroom. Behind his Liverpool football club curtains, detectives found a machete, a high-powered crossbow and catapult, airguns, a gas mask, flak jacket, small gas cylinders, adapted plastic pipes and tubes and an envelope containing fuse wire, the court heard.

Michael Piggin's Loughborough bedroomPiggin’s Loughborough bedroom, emblazoned with a Nazi swastika and press articles about serial killers. Photograph: GMP/PA

Giving evidence in April, the quietly spoken teenager admitted he had a “strong interest in mass killings” but denied planning to carry out an attack, saying it was only a fantasy to help him cope with bullying. He said he had drawn up a hit list because “it got that stuff off my mind”.


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