Sam Imrie was convicted of two charges under separate Terrorism Acts and six other charges following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in October.
He was labelled ‘despicable’ by a judge at the High Court in Glasgow and a senior detective warned that his actions were influenced by seeing online videos of atrocities carried out by fellow extremists.
Imrie, 24, posted statements online suggesting he was going to livestream footage of “an incident” and posted footage pretending he had set fire to the Fife Islamic Centre in Glenrothes.
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During his trial it emerged Imrie had a photo of Hitler as his computer screensaver, made offensive comments about the Muslim and Jewish communities and uttered racial remarks with the intention of encouraging acts of terrorism.
After seeing Imrie jailed by judge Lord Mulholland, Scotland’s most senior anti-terror officer maintained that ‘there was no place for hate crime’ in the country.
Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Houston, head of Police Scotland’s Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “What is clear from this case is that Sam Imrie was influenced online by the actions of others across the world and, by stating his own intentions, posed a significant threat to wider society.“His actions clearly could have encouraged other people with similar beliefs and intentions to carry out acts with potentially catastrophic consequences, not just in Scotland, but anywhere in the world.
“This sentencing further highlights that there is no place for hate crime in Scotland and that it will not be tolerated in any form by Police Scotland.”
Locals who lived near Imrie in Glenrothes described his as a ‘weirdo loner’ who had never had a girlfriend and spent much of his time ‘lurking in the shadows’.
His mother, described him as a ‘loner’ and a ‘recluse’ who had never had a girlfriend and spent most of his time alone in his bedroom.
The trial jury heard he spent hours on his computer trawling for posts which glorified terrorist acts by convicted terrorists Anders Breivik and Brenton Tarrant, and others.
Jailimg him, Lord Mulholland said Imrie was “spreading hate” and told him to use his time in jail to “remove hatred from your heart”.
Between June 20 and July 4, 2019, Imrie also had information of a kind “likely to be useful” to someone preparing an act of terrorism, namely copies of The Great Replacement by Tarrant, who killed 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand in 2019, and a manifesto by Breivik, who killed 77 people in two separate attacks in Norway in 2011.
He was also convicted of possessing extreme pornography, including indecent images of children and an image involving a human corpse, and of setting fires and of driving on drugs.
Lord Mulholland added: “You were spreading hate and encouraging others to take terrorist action.
“Your conduct was despicable. You have no understanding or self awareness of the hate you sought to spread.
He also placed Imrie on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years and imposed a five-year serious crime prevention order which will start on the day of his release.
Imrie will also be subject to terrorism notification requirements for 15 years.