London - Britain's youngest convicted terrorist has launched a High Court bid to keep his identity secret for life.
The teenager, who plotted to behead police officers when he was 14, wants to start again when he is released from jail.
His legal bid is unprecedented for a terrorism case and, if granted, will see him join the ranks of some of the country’s most notorious offenders.
Security sources confirmed the boy’s family successfully applied for an interim injunction barring anyone from naming him when he turned 18 in June.
His lawyers are now expected to make a full application to the High Court for a lifelong anonymity order later this year.
They may also ask the authorities to give him a new identity – a move which would cost taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds.
Only six such orders have been made to date, protecting notorious criminals including Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who murdered James Bulger.
Others include the double child killer Mary Bell and Maxine Carr, the ex-girlfriend of Soham double killer Ian Huntley.
The teenage terrorist was jailed for life in 2015 over a plot to attack police at an Anzac Day parade in Australia. He was ordered to serve at least five years for inciting terrorism and will only be released once he is no longer considered to be dangerous.
Originally from Blackburn, the court heard his parents were completely unaware of his extremist online activities.
He sent thousands of online messages to an alleged Australian jihadist and was planning ‘a massacre’ inspired by Islamic State propaganda.
Police said the plan hatched by the boy was ‘shocking in its brutality and scope’ and the judge agreed he poses a ‘significant risk’ to the public.
Mr Justice Saunders said the youth would have ‘welcomed the notoriety’ had the plot succeeded. But he added that revealing his identity might turn him into a poster boy for extremists and trigger copycat plots.
Although the boy cannot be released until 2020, his lawyers are already preparing for him to rejoin society. If he wins his fight, it will be only the second time that an offender’s identity has remained secret throughout criminal proceedings and beyond. The youngster, who can be identified only by the initials RXG, will pit his privacy under human rights law against the public’s right to know about his past.
His lawyers will be expected to satisfy a High Court judge that he is at serious risk from reprisals or that his rehabilitation would be affected if he were to be identified. Child suspects are normally granted automatic anonymity in criminal proceedings but in the most heinous cases, judges can name them on conviction. Last week, Thomas Wyllie and Alex Bolland were identified in court after they were convicted of plotting a Columbine-style school massacre in North Yorkshire. They were both 14 at the time of the planned attack, which included downloading bomb-making manuals and researching weapons.
Roy James, Carr’s former lawyer, told The Sunday Times: ‘Everybody has a right to family and private life.
‘He [RXG] would have to demonstrate that there is a real risk to him – as we did in Maxine’s case.’