Reporting by the Press Association
The mother of a man on trial accused of plotting an attack on a mosque told police she believed her son had shaved his head because of his “infatuation” with Adolf Hitler.
Sam Imrie has been charged with posting statements on social media platform Telegram suggesting he was going to carry out an attack on the Fife Islamic Centre in Glenrothes.
The 24-year-old has also been accused of planning to stream live footage of “an incident”.
Joyce Imrie made the assertion in a statement to police on July 6 2019, the day after her son’s arrest.
Giving evidence at the High Court in Edinburgh, Ms Imrie initially told the court she believed her son had shaved his head because of the TV show Jackass, and its star Steve-O.
“They had buzzcuts as kids, they shaved their heads like Steve-O out of Jackass,” she said, referring to Imrie and his brother.
“I never even noticed.”
Asked why she thought he had shaved his head, Ms Imrie replied, “To be a fool really”, and said it had not been something that caused her concern.
But the court also heard that in her statement to police, when asked if she had concerns about her son shaving his head, she replied: “He didn’t say why (he had done it).
“I would say that it was because of his infatuation with Hitler.”
Asked about this statement, Ms Imrie said: “I don’t understand why you would say it was because of Hitler, he didn’t have a bald head.”
Ms Imrie said she was doing a course at the time, in which a class mate had made a “controversial” presentation on Adolf Hitler.
She denied that an “infatuation” inherently meant something positive.
“An interest could be unhealthy as well,” she said.
She said Imrie had being doing “some research” about Hitler at the time.
The court was shown photos of swastikas drawn in a closet in Imrie’s bedroom, along with the number 1488, which is linked to white supremacism.
Ms Imrie said she could not remember seeing them.
Ms Imrie also denied raising concerns with her son about posts he made on Facebook prior to his arrest.
She agreed that she and her son had been friends on Facebook, but that he was “on and off” and had deactivated his account.
Asked had she seen any posts that concerned her, Ms Imrie shook her head and said: “I didn’t see what you’re implying.”
She said her son’s posts were mostly pictures of dogs, sunsets and sunrises.
But in her statement to police, Ms Imrie said: “About two years ago my mum informed me that there were comments relating to Hitler on his Facebook site.
“He had changed his profile picture to a swastika.
“We were concerned about this and spoke to him.
“He tried to justify it.”
Ms Imrie told the court she had no memory of speaking to her son about his Facebook posts, and that she was suffering from “menopause brain-fog”.
In her statement she said: “We just told him it was wrong.
“I don’t think that’s a phrase I would use,” she told the court.
“I’m sure I would have been a bit more horrified.”
Ms Imrie said when she had made the statement to police she had been in a “deep state of shock”.
She said that her son had been arrested at the family home by a Swat team.
“We had guns to our head, we had been made homeless in our underwear.
“I made my statement in my mum’s pyjamas, my boys were arrested in their boxer shorts.
“You don’t expect a Swat team in your home.
“We thought they were homicidal maniacs.”
Ms Imrie agreed that her statement to police was accurate and that she had not lied in it.
The court also heard that Imrie had been in trouble with police as a teenager, after writing racist graffiti that said “f*** Muslims” on a bus stop near his home.
Among other charges, Imrie has been accused of being in possession of neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim material and extreme pornography, including indecent images of children and an image involving a human corpse.
He was also said to have been found in possession of audio files and texts that “glorified terrorism” and works including The Great Replacement by Brenton Tarrant.
Imrie is also charged with driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol in July 2019.
He denies all of the nine charges against him, three of which come under the Terrorism Act.
The trial, before Lord Mulholland, continues.
Reporting by the Press Association