A 16-year-old boy from Cowes has been sentenced to jail for seven years after he was found plotting a potential attack at Isle of Wight Festival.

In February, the boy (who cannot be named for legal reasons) was found guilty of preparation of terrorist acts at Kingston Crown Court. He was also found guilty on three counts of dissemination of terrorist publications and possessing a bladed article in a public place.

The FBI uncovered messages from the boy that revealed he was allegedly planning to attack the festival in July 2022, with his Internet search queries reportedly including: “gun Isle of Wight”, “fast lorry”, “how many people are going to Isle of Wigh [sic] fest”, “Isle of Wight Festival gate” and “Isle of Wight Festival gate names”.

The boy also obtained a knife in July 2022, and had previously searches for weapons, vehicles, and stab vests.

Isle Of Wight Festival 2021. Credit: Dylan Roberts.

The court also previously heard the Isle of Wight festival was dismissed as a potential location for the attack as he did not own a car or vehicle. Instead, the boy planned to stab those who worked with him at his specialist education provider, as he believed they had insulted Islam.

Prosecutor Serena Gates went on to claim the boy converted to Islam in late 2021 and developed an “Islamic extremist mindset”. One tutor reported that the boy had a picture of Osama bin Laden as his phone wallpaper a year and a half before he was arrested. However, the tutor was not concerned, as the boy “was often trying to shock people with what he said”.

The boy was eventually arrested by terrorism officers with the help of Hampshire police on 11 July 2022, and was found to be carrying a knife.

As the sentence was handed down, Mrs Justice McGowan said to the boy: “You are intelligent and you have the potential to make something good with your life.

“You thought about killing two people who had offended you and your religion but both had tried to help you.”