A former journalist for a local Australian newspaper planned to lure Christians into his home in order to fight them or potentially kill them, an Australian prosecutor says.
James Michael Waugh was arrested in early April after sending threats on social media to local churches claiming he had bought a scimitar and would “kill every single one of you dog polytheist c***s,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Appearing in court last Tuesday, prosecutor Rae-ann Khazma told the court that Waugh had spoken to a doctor after being arrested and said he was intent on “luring in potential victims to his house” as retaliation for the massacre of the Christchurch Mosque in New Zealand.
"He made it clear he would either engage in battle … making him a martyr or to make them look bad," Khazma said, according to the ABC.
On March 15, a gunman murdered 51 Muslims and injured dozens more while they prayed at their Mosque in Christchurch in New Zealand.
Waugh, a former journalist for the weekly paper The Queanbeayan Age, was charged with “threatening to act with intent to cause public harm, using a carriage service to menace others and possessing a weapon to be used to kill,” the ABC reported.
Waugh, according to Khazma, also told this doctor that Australian laws didn’t apply to him because he didn’t recognize the Australian government. A mental health assessment found no mental health illness that would explain Waugh’s threats and claims.
Waugh’s threats included the aforementioned death threat to the Canberra House of Prayer Facebook page. In a Facebook Messenger group chat, Waugh also said he had “issued threats, along with my name and address, to every coward dog church in Canberra.”
“If you know someone with balls send them along. I've bought a scimitar and intend to cut their heads off in my front yard as a reprisal,” he added.
Waugh’s “extreme religious beliefs” led to the threats, prosecutors said. While in custody, he allegedly told police that he issued threats to any Christian church in the area he could find.
In court in early April, Waugh’s bail was denied and he was deemed a threat to the community. His bail was denied again on April 30 after prosecutors discovered previous searches on his computer related to his threats. Khazma said Waugh planned to prepare for his “day of judgement” in Queensland with his brother. Prior to his threats, he searched the area on the Internet.
Waugh’s attorney, Helen Hayunga, claimed there was no evidence the former journalist would act on this threats and insisted he be granted bail. Magistrate Peter Morrison interrupted her to remind the court that Waugh had purchased a weapon.
His attorney responded by saying there was no evidence that he had acted on his threats and said police had seized his phone and computer.
"He will have, necessarily, more limited access to the internet [if released]," Hayunga said, according to the ABC.
Waugh’s bail was denied. He will appear in court again later this month.