Page last updated at 14:27 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 15:27 UK

Youths 'plotted massacre online'

Matthew Swift and Ross McKnight
The prosecution alleges the pair planned to bomb a shopping centre

Two teenagers accused of planning a copycat Columbine-style massacre at their school chatted online about their plans, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Matthew Swift, 18, and friend Ross McKnight, 16, carried on conversations via online messaging detailing their plot, the jury was told.

Both also scoured the internet for information on guns and details of the Columbine outrage.

The pair deny conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions.

Mr Swift, a former pupil at Audenshaw High School in Greater Manchester, and Ross, still a pupil at the school, are accused of plotting to bomb the school on the 10th anniversary of the Columbine massacre - a plan they named Project Rainbow.

They are alleged to have become obsessed with the massacre, carried out in Colorado by Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, who murdered 12 students and a teacher in the attack on 20 April 1999.

Chat-logs of Mr Swift and Ross's conversations were recovered from both their computers after their arrest in March this year, with extracts read out to the jury.

Sniper training

Other items recovered from one or other of their computers are details on eight separate massacres carried out by individuals across the world, mainly involving attacks on school, colleges or universities.

On Mr Swift's laptop, police found a document from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, which investigated the Columbine massacre, containing information which had been put on the internet.

There were also files about firearms, survival and sniper training manuals, computer hacking and pistol training.

On Ross's computer, police recovered files about machine guns, assault rifles, guns used by the Taliban and a beheading video and searches on the Columbine killers.

The trial continues.

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