Paul Greaney QC and Nicholas de la Poer in school shooting sentence

On Friday 20th July 2018, Tom Wyllie and Alex Bolland were sentenced for conspiring together to carry out a recreation of the Columbine School massacre at their North Yorkshire secondary school. The plot by the boys was to secure firearms, manufacture improvised explosive devices and storm the school killing students and teachers whom they had identified on a “hit list”.

 

Both boys had denied participating in any plan and a trial prosecuted by Paul and Nicholas took place earlier this year. At the conclusion of the trial the jury unanimously convicted both boys, who were just 14 years old at the time of their plan, of conspiracy to murder.  Tom Wyllie was also convicted of unlawfully wounding his 14 year old girlfriend, an allegation he also denied, by carving the letters “T O M” into her lower back with his penknife.

 

The prosecution case drew upon various strands of evidence, including experts from a variety of disciplines, social media messaging, internet search history, a diary kept by Tom Wyllie and the evidence of a number of school children to whom they both spoke about their plot.

 

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, having found Tom Wyllie to be dangerous within the meaning of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, sentenced him to an extended sentence of 17 years, comprising 12 years custody, with a five year extension period. Alex Bolland was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

 

At the conclusion of the proceedings Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb ruled that the seriousness of the offence was such that both boys could be publicly named, notwithstanding their age.

 

The case attracted national media attention, including being the front page story in the Times on 21st July 2018.

 

Sentencing remarks can be found here:

R v Wyllie and Bolland (sentencing remarks)

 

Media coverage of the case can be found here:

Paul Greaney QC
Call 1993
QC 2010


Nicholas de la Poer
Call 2003


23rd Jul 2018


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