A Fife loner who allegedly planned to attack a mosque spent his days boozing and researching far right politics, he told his trial.
Sam Imrie,24, told jurors how he became interested in extremist politics after leaving school at just 14 and suffering an assault which left him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Imrie told his lawyer Jim Keegan QC he became interested in why there were so many Islamic terrorism attacks taking place as he grew up.
He said he turned to online forum 8Chan as he did not believe anybody in the mainstream media was properly discussing the reasons for the attacks.
Imrie, of Glenrothes, said he studied so-called “red pill” content on the website, giving far right wing explanations about attacks.
He said this led him to “manifestos” written by mass murderers Anders Breivik and Brenton Tarrant, who he called a “hero”.
He said he went onto to download “tens of thousands” of far right wing images including a video made by Tarrant of him killing dozens of people at mosques in Christchurch.
He also said as he was becoming interested in far right wing politics, he was spending his days drinking and not socialising with people.
He had left school at 14, developed PTSD after being assaulted and self harmed.
Didn’t care if he lived or died
Imrie told Edinburgh High Court he was never serious about carrying out a terrorism attack on a mosque in Glenrothes – one of the key charges against him.
When Mr Keegan asked Imrie whether he came to idolise Breivik and Tarrant, Imrie replied: “I think in some ways maybe.”
He said of Tarrant: “He just mass murdered people and he made it look like a big joke and that was how I was living my life.”
He went on: “I wasn’t really caring if I lived or died.
“I was just trying to offend people with my posts online.
“I was at a point in my life really when everybody my age had jobs, had got their own houses, had got married and even had kids.
“I was living like a 12-year-old really, just drinking everyday.”
Christchurch murders ‘deserved’
Imrie was giving evidence on the ninth day of proceedings against him. He denies terrorism and other charges.
He said he believed at the time he watched footage of the March 2019 attacks, which resulted in 51 deaths, Tarrant was justified in his actions.
He told prosecutor Lisa Gillespie QC: “I believed at the time that they deserved it.”
Ms Gillespie said: “People praying at a mosque deserved to be shot?”
Imrie replied: “Yeah. I believed it.”
The advocate depute replied: “It was a horrific video?”
Imrie replied: “Yeah. I didn’t think it was horrific back then.”
Ms Gillespie then asked Imrie: “You consider Brenton Tarrant to be a hero?”
The accused replied: “Yeah. I think I did.”
Search for ‘like-minded’ people
He said he spent most of his time playing computer games on his X Box and played “hundreds of games” which focused on “killing people.”
Imrie told the court that he became interested in the Nazis after playing the military game Call of Duty.
This led to his research into terrorist attacks.
“I just wanted to find like-minded people who were questioning about why it was happening and why nobody was speaking about it.
“They were talking about Islamic terrorism.
“They were saying that all Muslims were responsible and they were all playing their part. I believed it.”
He said: “It just made me hate Muslims really.”
Drunken postings intended to shock
Imrie told the court that he later became involved with a group called FashWave Artists on Telegram, a mobile phone instant messaging app where he posted far right wing images.
He said he was pretending to fellow users on the group that the footage showed him burning down a mosque.
He said: “I just wanted to put it online and shock them.
“I wanted something to do in my otherwise boring life.
“I would get drunk, post stupid things online.
“I’d regret them and then I would sober up and delete it.”
Earlier in the trial, jurors heard how police officers who searched Imrie’s bedroom found a number of offensive weapons which prosecutors claim could be of use to somebody planning a terrorism attack.
Imrie said he bought the weapons “legally” because he was interested in collecting them.
The court has also heard that a computer belonging to Imrie contained extreme pornographic images of mutilated women.
Mr Keegan asked: “Did you download any of it?”
Imrie replied: “Yeah, videos of people being killed.
“It used to keep me in a mindset of being depressed because I used to think that this is what happened in the real world.
“It used to keep me in a low dark place.”
‘My life is destroyed’
He said he now feels “sick” about his social media messages and did not mean them.
Denying he intended to carry out acts of violence or damage to property, he said if anyone else was inspired by his rhetoric to do so he would, “Probably kill myself.”
He added: “My life is destroyed forever because of this.”
Imrie denies all nine charges against him including those related to planning a terror attack in Fife, fireraising, possession of child abuse material and extreme pornography and driving offences.
The trial, before judge Lord Mulholland, continues.