Scotsman jailed: Searched Dunblane massacre and buying gun on dark web


After purchasing a gun from the dark web, a gun enthusiast who searched the internet for details on the Dunblane tragedy was put behind bars. James Maxwell, who had also ordered ammunition, was imprisoned for five years.

The 28-year-old from Leven, Fife, allegedly looked out the date of 2022’s school break online as well. He used a video link from HMP Perth to appear at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday for his sentencing hearing.

He had previously acknowledged to six offenses, one of which was possessing explicit photos of youngsters. Maxwell received an additional nine-year sentence from Judge Lord Ericht.

He will serve five years in prison and an additional four years of home monitoring after being released from custody, with the warning that “you are a grave risk to public safety.”

Maxwell entered a guilty plea in September for trying to obtain and buying a restricted weapon between December 1, 2022, and January 11, 2023, without authorization or a weapons certificate.

Maxwell also acknowledged attempting to purchase and possess ammunition, as well as attempting to import the gun and bullets from the US without the required authorization.

He admitted guilt to having excessive animal-themed photos and child pornography that he had between April 22, 2022, and January 11, 2023.

Judge Lord Ericht instructed Maxwell before sentencing, saying, “You looked up the date of the schools’ Christmas break in 2022. You also looked at Glasgow’s elementary schools and the Dunblane School Massacre.”

Lord Ericht said the court that the ammunition Maxwell had requested had not been legally obtained in the UK and would inflict “greater injury” than ammunition intended for regular use.

He continued: “You purchased them on the dark web, you bought them from the USA and you paid for them with crypto currency.” The court heard that Maxwell was detained when the guns were seized before they reached his residence.

“One hundred rounds of that kind of ammunition used would have been unimaginable,” Lord Ericht continued. You pose a serious threat to everyone’s safety.”

In his conclusion, Lord Ericht said: “I commend both the USA law officers and Police Scotland for their actions in ensuring the gun and ammunition were not received by you.” Maxwell will also be listed for seven years on the sex offenders register.

In mitigation, Maxwell’s attorney, Jonathan Crowe, told the court that he had a “troubled upbringing” and that, after his father committed suicide, he quit secondary school at the age of 13. Subsequently, he did not pursue further study or job.

Mr. Crowe informed the court that Maxwell never had encouragement to do so. He stated: “He spent time in his room playing games and watching DVDs and his life has followed the same pattern ever since.”

Maxwell identified himself as “suicidal for many years” during a mental health evaluation, according to Mr. Crowe. It further stated that Maxwell “lived online for many years” and that he had no communication with the outside world.