British man pleads guilty to threatening massacre at US school
A British man pleaded guilty yesterday to making Facebook threats to kill 200 people at a school in the United States, which sparked a major security alert that saw thousands of pupils kept at home.
Reece Elliot, 24, a father-of-one from South Shields in northeastern England, posted the messages on a tribute site for a Tennessee teenager who was killed in a car accident.
"My father has three guns. I'm planning on killing him first and putting him in a dumpster," he wrote on the RIP Caitlin Talley social networking page, using a false name.
"Then I'm taking the motor and I'm going in fast. I'm gonna kill hopefully at least 200 before I kill myself. So you want to tell the deputy, I'm on my way."
Elliot was arrested in February after handing himself in to police in Britain following investigations by the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
In the atmosphere of heightened security after the Newtown school massacre, Elliot's threats had sparked a lockdown of local schools, prosecuting lawyer Gary Buckley told an earlier hearing.
"I am told that the local authority immediately put all the local schools in the area on what was called lockdown. Because of the hysteria caused, around 3,000 children were kept off school on that specific day," he said.
Buckley added that when Elliot handed himself in, "he said he was a part-time [internet] troll. He said he decided to post offensive comments to see what kind of reaction he could provoke".
On Friday, Elliott admitted one count of making a threat to kill and eight of sending grossly offensive messages.