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Windermere man jailed after pleading guilty to terrorism charges
1:39pm Monday 21st January 2013 in News
A MAN who set up a Facebook account to upload terrorist propaganda, including pictures of beheadings, has been jailed. Craig Slee, 42, formerly of Craig Walk, Windermere, pleaded guilty to four offences under the 2006 Terrorism Act - encouraging terrorism and dissemination of terrorist publications - and one count of possession of a prohibited weapon. He was sentenced to five years at Preston Crown Court. It follows an investigation by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit. The court heard that Slee created a false identity and set up a Facebook page using the alter-ego 'Hashim X Shakur'. He was also the creator and administrator of another Facebook account called 'FB Mujahideen'. On his 'Hashim X Shakur' Facebook account, Slee, now of Trawden Crescent, Preston, claimed to be a Muslim and provided personal information about himself, the majority of which was false. He later told police he did this in order to make him sound more interesting. He also posted links to a communiqué by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and uploaded several videos, which included gruesome beheadings and Islamist terrorist propaganda material. Slee also engaged in Facebook chat with other people. During these chats, he maintained the pretence of his alter-ego, claiming he had been on trips to Jalalabad, intimated he had suffered shrapnel injuries and inferred he was a member of the Taliban. The court was told these were all total fabrications. Slee has no connection to the Taliban, Al-Qaeda or any other terrorist network or organisation. He was arrested on July 25 2011 in Craig Walk, Windermere. As part of the investigation, officers also recovered a can of CS gas from an address in Preston linked to Slee. Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, head of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said: "It is clear that Slee was a total fantasist. He had no links whatsoever to any terrorist organisations, was not a radical convert and there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest he engaged in any attack planning. "However, what this case illustrates is the very real dangers of misusing the material that is ready available on the Internet. The power of the Internet and social networking sites is vast and extends worldwide, so while Slee may not have been planning any sort of attack, he could easily have influenced someone else with the propaganda he was uploading. "He may have used a false identity, which in itself is an offence that can result in a criminal prosecution, but this is absolutely not a game and the consequences of his actions could have been very real. I hope therefore that this welcome result acts as a stark warning to others who are misusing the Internet and social networking sites for criminal activity. "I want to stress that this case is not about policing people's freedom to browse the Internet. The materials that were downloaded were not stumbled upon by chance - these had to be searched for and contained very dangerous information - that is why we had to take action."