A Gloucester teenager has been found guilty today (Monday 22 July) of attempting to import a gun and ammunition with the intent to endanger life.
Kyle Davies, 19, from Wotton in Gloucester, was arrested as part of a South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) investigation on June 20, 2018.
Just two days before, a parcel containing a handgun and ammunition he had purchased on the dark web was stopped and examined by Homeland Security Investigations at Newark Airport, New York.
With support from Gloucestershire Police, SW ROCU officers delivered a replica parcel to Davies and, following his arrest, searched his house.
Analysis of his laptop, tablet, mobile phone and USB drive revealed Davies’ extensive research into mass shootings, particularly Columbine High School, as well as the equipment needed to carry out such attacks.
In his bedroom, they found handwritten notes within a school workbook including ‘Hello Mr Policeman’ and ‘This one Mr Policeman’, indicating he expected to be the focus of a police investigation one day.
Davies had also drawn 77 stick men to represent the victims of the 2011 explosion and shootings in Norway.
A ‘shopping list’ entitled ‘Gotterdamerung’, or ‘the end of time’, listed items including a gas mask, trench coat, gloves, boots and body armour, as well as the ingredients needed to make explosives.
Detective Inspector Kevin Till, of the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU), led the investigation. He said: “The depth of research Davies had carried out and the extent of his planning under what he himself termed ‘phase one’ leaves us in no doubt he was intending to follow in the footsteps of the murderers he idolised.
“The intervention by Homeland Security at Newark Airport undoubtedly led us to a very dangerous individual. A meticulous investigation, closely supported by forensic experts and the CPS, has clearly shown his intent to harm others and, ultimately, ensured he never had the opportunity to move on to ‘phase two’.”
Howard Phillips of the CPS said:
“Davies’ notes did not identify a target and did not demonstrate an ideology or aim that would support a charge under terrorism legislation. The challenge for the CPS was therefore to prove that his intent when purchasing the hand gun was to endanger the lives of others, and not just to take his own life as he claimed. Thanks to the very thorough investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit we were able to do this.
“We will thankfully never know what the consequences would have been had the gun and ammunition Davies attempted to import actually made it into his hands”.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Attaché London, James Mancuso, said: “We stand shoulder to shoulder with our UK law enforcement partners and their fight against firearms trafficking.
“Through this partnership, we have been able to prevent a man from obtaining a firearm and ammunition, which has potentially foiled a mass casualty event. We commend the dynamic and impressive work of the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit and other UK law enforcement teams that participated in this operation. Their dedication to ensuring the safety of their residents has undoubtedly saved lives.
“HSI will continue to enforce US firearms export laws and further ensure the continued international investigative efforts against firearms trafficking.”
Sentencing has been adjourned to a date yet to be fixed, pending psychiatric reports. Davies will also be sentenced for two counts of evading the prohibition on the importation of firearms and ammunition and two counts of making indecent images of children, which he pleaded guilty to at a previous hearing.