'I do want to carry out a mass shooting' - what Edinburgh incel terror accused told psychiatrist

A man accused of terrorism offences felt like the founding father of the incel – involuntary celibate ideology – and idolised him by the summer of last year, a court heard today.

Gabrielle Friel is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh
Gabrielle Friel is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh

A prosecutor said Gabrielle Friel knew of Elliot Rodger and the acts of violence he carried out and had sourced weapons and was planning an attack.

Richard Goddard QC reminded jurors of Friel's words to a social worker on August 14 last year : "I feel like I am Elliot Rodger who was a killer in a school."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mr Goddard said Sarah Drummond had noted he was very fixated and almost idolising Rodger – a spree killer at a university in California.

The advocate depute said that two days later Friel, 22, told psychiatrist Dr Alexander Quinn: "I do want to carry out a mass shooting."

He said: "We know when he spoke all those words he had already ordered and taken possession of a crossbow with telescopic sights."

Mr Goddard told the High Court in Edinburgh: "We know Gabrielle Friel had embraced incel ideology, fixated on it."

The prosecutor said there was "a host of incriminating circumstances" which amounted to a convincing case against Friel and called on a jury to convict him of two offences under the Terrorism Act which he faces.

Mr Goddard said the social worker reported Friel as feeling a lot of anger and being unfairly treated in life.

She said he felt rejected and jealous of what others had and felt females were not interested in him. Mr Goddard said jurors might think all of these were incel related themes.

Friel had told her he felt like Rodger and was able to tell her about his YouTube video and manifesto.

The prosecutor said that Dr Quinn, who saw Friel two days after his meeting with the social worker, said he was very angry with the world and was displaying anger towards women. He felt girls and women had never been interested in him.

He said to the psychiatrist: "If I do plan an attack it will be real. I do want to cause a mass shooting."

Mr Goddard said Friel had already sourced a high-powered crossbow and a foot long machete and was looking for the means of carrying them into a public place.

The prosecutor said that he had also made "visit after visit after visit" to online retailers of firearms.

Friel, of Comely Bank Road, Edinburgh is accused of possessing a crossbow, scope, 15 bolts, a machete and ballistic vest between June 1 and August 16 last year in circumstances giving rise to a reasonable suspicion that it was for a purpose connected with "the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism" in Edinburgh.

He is also accused of, with the intention of committing acts of terrorism, conducting online research in an attempt to acquire a firearm, in relation of spree killing mass murder and expressing a desire to commit such a murder. He denies the charges.

Defence solicitor advocate Brian Gilfedder argued that Friel should be acquitted of the charges he faces.

He said: "This case has nothing to do with terrorism, nothing to do with advancing an ideology, an incel-related ideology."

"My submission is this case is all about the accused wanting to achieve death by extended suicide - to provoke the police to shoot him. That was his purpose, that was his intention," he said.

He argued that one of the three key factors for a terrorism conviction was that it was committed for the purpose of of advancing a political, racial, religious or ideological cause.

He said with Friel the alleged basis was that of the incel ideology but maintained that Crown "fell down" on that factor.

The judge is currently charging the jury before they begin their deliberations.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.