Young terrorists who murder can get shorter jail sentence than those caught just plotting an attack

YOUNG terrorists who murder can get a shorter sentence than those caught just plotting an atrocity.

Ministers are being urged to close the legal loophole that means 18 to 21-year-olds planning bombings can receive longer sentences than if attacks succeed.

The bungled guidelines were introduced by Tony Blair’s government in 2003.

But they have been highlighted by the judge sentencing Manchester bombing accomplice Hashem Abedi.

Justice Jeremy Baker noted plotting to cause an explosion “which merely involves the likelihood of endangering life rather than the fact that death has been caused” carries a 35-year minimum term for everyone.

But he pointed out the “appropriate starting point” for an 18-21-year-old committing murder is 30 years.

Ultimately, he sentenced Abedi, 23, whose older brother Salman blew himself up in the May 2017 attack, to a minimum term of 55 years for his role in both crimes — directly helping to kill 22 and plotting the atrocity.

But because he was under 21 when the massacre took place Justice Baker was constrained from slapping a total life sentence on the jihadi murderer.

Dr Alan Mendoza, of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said: “The Government must legislate immediately to change this.”

A Justice source said they were “looking into this”.

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