A former Newcastle College learner has been found guilty of plotting mass murder on campus.
Liam Lyburd, aged 19, of Hamilton Place, Newcastle, admitted nine counts of making or possessing weapons and boasted during the four-day trial that buying the gun online was “like buying a bar of chocolate”.
He denied eight charges of intending to use the weapons to endanger life in November.
However, after six-and-a-half hours’ deliberation Newcastle Crown Court jurors found him guilty of possessing weapons with intent to endanger life and he is due to be sentenced on September 25.
The court heard valium addict Lyburd targeted Newcastle College having been ejected from a maths and English course after just over a month in 2012 due to disruptive behaviour failing to turn up for class.
The jury was told he spent months in his bedroom making or buying weapons on the internet and posting messages on social media, before a woman he’d contacted warned the police.
Officers later searched his home and found a 9mm Luger Calibre Glock gun, 94 jacketed hollow point expanding bullets, CS gas, a “kill bag,” five pipe bombs, including nails, and two handmade explosive devices.
A computer specialist also recovered a deleted file from Lyburd’s computer in which he wrote about getting revenge on the college.
It said: “You people ruined my whole life, don’t expect me to show mercy today. No-one disrespects me and gets away with it. I’ll teach you people a little lesson on respect with my 9mm jacketed hollow points. It’s time for extreme civil disobedience.
“Fantasy will become reality today for sure. Where the mind goes the body will follow and, yes, people will die, there’s no question about that.”
Prosecutor Nick Dry had told the court: “This was no improbable fantasy of a naive daydreamer divorced from reality but a carefully planned revenge attack, constructed and resourced by an embittered yet highly skilled and savvy computer hacker who was able, by his own admission, to extract funds from others on the Internet, including Bitcoins, which he then exchanged on the dark web for a semi-automatic pistol and expanding ammunition.
“At the same time, he was constructing viable explosive devices and identifying himself with those responsible for recent mass killings around the world.”
Lyburd was found guilty of five counts of possessing a pipe bomb with intent to endanger life, one of possessing two homemade explosives with intent to endanger life, one of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and one of possessing ammunition with intent to endanger life.
Judge Paul Sloan QC, the Recorder of Newcastle, told him: “The fact I’m adjourning sentence isn’t an indication of sentence. You will appreciate only a very substantial sentence is appropriate in this case.”
A Newcastle College spokesperson said: “The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority and we would like to thank Northumbria Police, who we worked closely with throughout the incident.”