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'The First Homegrown UK Terrorist' jailed for 13 years

LONDON (Reuters) - A left-wing anarchist who had described himself as "the First Homegrown UK Terrorist" has been jailed for 13 years for terrorism-related offences, including a written declaration of a desire to kill 50 or more people.

Jacob Graham, 20, was convicted last month of offences including preparation of terrorist acts, two counts of dissemination of terrorist publications, and four counts of possession of material likely to be useful to a terrorist.

His sentencing comes days after the government published a new definition of extremism in response to an increase in hate crimes against Jews and Muslims since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. The change has raised some concern that it would inhibit free speech and unfairly target Muslim groups.

Judge Julian Goose told Graham at Manchester Crown Court in northwest England on Monday: "you were a dangerous young man, who described yourself as 'The First Homegrown UK Terrorist'".

"You held a clear and settled intention to assist others to commit acts of terrorism."

The judge said that while Graham told the jury he was only interested in chemistry, pyrotechnics and the military and "just had a strange hobby" the jury rejected that explanation when it sentenced him.

Goose described a letter written by Graham in 2022 where he said he was "aiming for at least 50 deceased and more injured, any more is a blessing" as particularly disturbing.

In the letter, which was read out by the judge, Graham wrote: "I am going to attack government buildings, politicians’ houses, mass murder those who think it’s OK to hide their wrongdoings behind money and power ... I will start a bombing campaign."

The prosecution had argued during the trial that Graham was motivated both by hatred of the government and environmental concerns.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has warned that the country's multi-ethnic democracy was being undermined by both Islamist and far-right extremists, and called for a tougher approach to policing protests after a rise in hate speech and criminality.

(Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)