AS a public gallery packed with journalists listened intently the judge tasked with sentencing Ethan Stables revealed he could be considering an alternative to prison.

Stables, 20, faced a lengthy custodial sentence as he appeared at Leeds Crown Court this morning.

He has been found guilty of preparing to commit acts of terrorism, making threats to kill and possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances following a two-week trial.

For a number of months leading up to his arrest last June, on the night of a gay pride event at the New Empire in Barrow, Stables had made a number of threats and carried out research with a view to unleashing a terrorist attack on the pub.

The jury ruled his "attempts to gain a defence" by declaring he was bisexual after the trial started were "lies".

Stables' defence had also focused on his autistic spectrum disorder, difficult upbringing and desire to "fit in" with his far right friends.

The jury of seven men and five women took around four hours to find he was in fact guilty and today he faces a maximum of life imprisonment.

They ruled he was a neo-Nazi, homophobic terrorist who had lied in court.

Following his conviction, his barrister Patrick Upward QC told the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, that Stables led a "melancholy life" up to the day of his arrest and lived in "almost squalid conditions".

Mr Upward said: "He bears no comparison with the men who attacked Corporal (Lee) Rigby, no comparison with the men who went on the rampage at Borough Market and no comparison with the man who ran people over on Westminster Bridge and stabbed a police officer.

"Whatever he was doing that night, he did not have a fuse to set it off. He did not have the wherewithal to make the fuse."

As the sentencing began the judge directed defence barrister Patrick Upward to address members of the press with the latest development.

"Yesterday afternoon the prosecution sent a letter indicating that following Monday's verdict they had to decided to contact (consultant forensic psychiatrist) Dr Martin Lock with a view to assessing whether the defendant represents a risk to the public."

Within his sentencing remit, the judge would have the option of extending any custodial sentence to attach a period on licence, which would subject Stables to strict conditions after release from prison.

Under UK law a judge can only hand out such a sentence if the defendant is already deemed to be dangerous.

Mr Upward expressed his frustration with the last minute development and even questioned the prosecution's "motivation".

However this was disputed by prosecution barrister Jonathan Sandiford who insisted the request to adjourn for further reports was "in the interests" of Stables.

The judge outlined the facts as he had decided them following the presentation of evidence during the trial.

Speaking directly to Stables, of Egerton Court in Barrow, the judge said: "You spent a lot of time looking at weapons, particularly firearms, you looked at how they could be homemade, bought and suggested smuggling them from Germany.

"You carried out a great deal of research about explosives however as with firearms you never attempted to obtain the chemicals."

The judge made a number of references to whether he believed Stables was able to cause "serious harm or damage".

"I am satisfied, having observed you during the course of the trial, that the likelihood of you carrying out such activity was low," he said.

The judge told Stables that in his sentencing he would need to "assess the culpability and sophistication" of the threats he had made.

The judge also referred to Stables' autistic spectrum disorder but said this did not excuse his criminality.

"I am satisfied that your condition has played some part in this but that does not absolve you from what you have done," he added.

The judge told Stables he knew that the threats he was making were unlawful.

"You had been warned that if you went on making threats the Criminal Justice System would have to deal with you. That day has arrived."

The sentencing has now been adjourned until February 28 when a case progress hearing will take place to determine a final sentencing date.