Paul Johnson used petrol to ignite the doors of Guru Nanak Sikh Templein Edinburgh (Image: Daily Record)

Paul Johnson used petrol to ignite the doors of Guru Nanak Sikh Templein Edinburgh (Image: Daily Record)

A man who has “issues” with religion has admitted setting fire to the doors of a Sikh temple and a church.

Paul Johnson used petrol to ignite the doors of Edinburgh’s Guru Nanak Sikh Temple and Leith Methodist Church this summer because he wanted to make a “political statement”.

He told police he wanted to watch the premises burn down and hoped to be arrested.

Johnson, 49, admitted two charges of willful fireraising, aggravated by religious prejudice, on August 28 when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday. He will be sentenced next month.

The court heard the attack on the Sikh temple , to the danger of life of a family inside, was unplanned and was only carried out when unemployed Johnson came across the building.

It also heard how, on the evening of August 27, Johnson bought a container and, later, fuel worth £3.51 from a local petrol station.

Shortly before 5am on August 28, a man heading to the temple to pray spotted that fire had taken hold on one side of one of the doors and immediately raised the alarm with a man sleeping inside in the family quarters.

The fire service was then alerted and used two engines, two high reach vehicles and 11 firefighters to bring the blaze under control.

Around a couple of hours later, the caretaker at Leith Methodist Church noticed a smell of petrol and burning and cleaned up the area around the front door after realising there was no fire damage of note.

The door of the Sikh temple in Edinburgh was set alight

The door of the Sikh temple in Edinburgh was set alight

He later contact police after hearing about the incident at the temple.

CCTV footage from the area around the church between 12.03am and 12.13am showed Johnson approaching the church door, with a flash of light then visible.

Footage from the temple from 12.38am to 1.07am revealed him then approaching the door with a jerry can and lighting a piece of paper.

He returned on two further occasions during that time to light more paper and throw it towards the door before running away.

Police arrested Johnson after spotting him in Leith in the early hours of August 30.

Asked about his involvement in the two fires, he immediately told officers: “I did it.”

Advocate depute Alan Cameron told the court: “He stated that around midnight he walked to the Methodist Church in Leith and poured fuel on the doors before using a lighter to set fire to pieces of paper which he threw on the fuel.

“He stated that a small fire started but quickly went out. He stayed in the immediate area for some time but no emergency services attended.”

Johnson then walked around Leith and, on seeing the Sikh temple, set fire to its front doors using the same method.

Mr Cameron continued: “He stated that a small fire caught and he stayed in the locus as he wanted to be arrested by the police, however no emergency services attended.

“The accused stated that his intention in buying the petrol was to start the fire at the Methodist church and that the fire-raising at the Sikh temple was not planned and was only carried out when he came across the building.

“The accused was asked as to his motivation for the fires and stated that he was looking to make a political statement, but would not provide further details.

“When asked whether this was religiously motivated he stated that he has no issue with any particular religion but his issues are with religion and God in general.

“The accused was asked what his intention was by setting fire to the building and he stated that he wanted to watch them burn down.”

Johnson, listed as a prisoner in Edinburgh, has a previous conviction for culpable and reckless conduct, which earned him a four-month jail sentence in 2017.

Judge Lord Boyd deferred sentencing in the case until November 15.

Daily Record

Glynn Fairclough was jailed for 12 weeks during a hearing held at Sheffield Magistrates' Court held today, after he admitted to racially aggravated harassment against his neighbour

Glynn Fairclough was jailed for 12 weeks during a hearing held at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court held today, after he admitted to racially aggravated harassment against his neighbour

A Sheffield man, who tormented his neighbour by making monkey noises and displaying racist signs and dolls, has been put behind bars.

During this period, Fairclough, of Retford Road, Handsworth displayed signs that used racist language and a golly doll in a landing window that faced her house.

“There was clear planning. The defendant actually went out and bought a golly doll and intentionally placed it in his window,” said Kate Reikstina, prosecuting.

Ms Reikstina described how Fairclough, 52, also made monkey noises at the woman and left onions and rotting shrimp strewn all over her property.

She said police warned Fairclough to stop, thereby informing him of the ‘distress’ being caused to his neighbour, but he persisted in his abusive behaviour.

He was finally arrested by South Yorkshire Police on August 26.

In a victim personal statement read out in court, the woman described how Fairclough’s behaviour had caused her a great deal of stress and anxiety.

“It makes me worried to leave the house and I don’t want to go into the garden. I’ve even considered moving,” said the woman.

The court heard how Fairclough was jailed in 2011 for the harassment of his ex-wife.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of racially aggravated harassment without violence at a hearing held last month.

Joanne Robinson, defending, said: “He was cooperative with the police…he accepted a very large degree of what happened.

“He accepts that the language he used was unacceptable.”

She added: “What he would say is that most of these incidents happened while he was under the influence of alcohol.”

Ms Robinson told the court that Fairclough was in the process of moving into his girlfriend’s home in Bramley, and would therefore soon be living a ‘sizeable’ distance away from the complainant.

District Judge Paul Heeley jailed Fairclough for 12 weeks during this morning’s hearing.

“Your behaviour was deeply shocking and distressing. It’s appalling conduct, in my view,” said Judge Heeley, adding: “Your neighbour has a right to be treated with respect in her own home and to live her life in peace.”

Judge Heeley also granted a restraining order, banning Fairclough from contacting the complainant.

He said: “I must make it abundantly clear: if you display any signs aimed at the defendant I will treat that as conduct which puts you in breach of the restraining order.”

Judge Heeley said he was minded to order Fairclough to pay his victim compensation, but Ms Riekstina said the woman had not put in a claim for it.

Yorkshire Post.

Thomas Allen being led away by police during the demos in Sunderland

Thomas Allen being led away by police during the demos in Sunderland

A protester used his head as a weapon to charge at and injure a policeman battling to keep rivals apart during a mass demonstration in Sunderland city centre, a court heard.

Thomas Allen, 58, has been fined and ordered to pay the officer compensation by magistrates who scolded him for his actions.

They were told the unprovoked attack caused the PC to tumble to the ground, causing grazing to an arm.

Despite the assault, he was able to keep hold of Allen, of Hartside Road, Pennywell, Sunderland, who was arrested.

Even Allen’s defence solicitor admitted his client was still “hyped up” when later questioned at a police station.

Sentencing Allen, who is believed to be jobless, magistrates in South Tyneside criticised him for being part of trouble which led to three arrests on the day.

Democractic Football Lads Alliance protest through Sinderland City centre

Democractic Football Lads Alliance protest through Sinderland City centre

They said police had better things to do than wrestle with a man of his age during what should have been an entirely peaceful protest.

The court heard Allen was part of two marches organised by left and right wing groups which descended on the city on Saturday, September 15.

One was by Wearside-based Justice for the Women and Children Group, which was joined by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA).

A counter demonstration was held by Sunderland Unites and Stand Up To Racism North East, which included members of trade unions, political parties and politicians.

Trouble flared close to Keel Square when members of the DFLA ignored march stewards and tried to break through the police lines which separated them from the other group.

Prosecutor Lesley Burgess said: “The officer was in uniform and part of an incident ongoing in Sunderland city centre.

“He was keeping the peace between left and right wing activists. As part of the cordon, he was directing members of the protest.

“He instructed Mr Allen to continue on his way and in the direction of where the demonstration was a heading.

“Mr Allen took no notice. He ducked his head and charged at the officer into his stomach.

“The officer says that he had no regard for him and forced him to fall backwards, and they were both forced to the floor together.

“He kept hold of him and got a graze to his elbow.”

Harry Burn, defending, described Allen, who admitted one charge of assault when he appeared in court, as “hyped up” even after his arrest.

He said his client had denied the offence when interviewed, but admitted he might have pushed the policeman.

Mr Burn said: “It was not nice for the police officer. But the injury is what it is, it’s a graze to an arm.

“It’s not too serious. He hasn’t needed medical support, but it was his job and he didn’t need that to happen.

“Mr Allen apologises to the officer and to the court.”

Magistrates fined Allen £80 – reduced from £120 due to his guilty plea – and ordered him to pay £100 compensation to the officer.

He must also pay a £30 victim surcharge and £85 court costs, with the entire amount being paid at £10 a week.

Sunderland Echo

A man has admitted sending hundreds of racist letters nationwide including calls for a “Punish a Muslim Day”.

David Parnham, 35, sent the letters to mosques, Muslim parliamentarians including Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon, the Queen, David Cameron and Theresa May.

He pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to 15 offences, including soliciting to murder and staging a bomb hoax.

Parnham, of St Andrews Close, Lincoln, was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at a later date.

During his two-year campaign, Parnham sent wave after wave of letters across the country that included white supremacist imagery and threats to minorities, mostly Muslims.

His first letters sent in June 2016 contained a white powder as a hoax poison.

In one letter sent to David Cameron, Parnham wrote “Allah is Great” and in others sent to mosques he wrote “Paki filth”.

Three months later Parnham sent another wave of white powder letters, including those addressed to the Queen and Theresa May respectively.

One of his poison hoaxes was so sophisticated that it triggered a chemical attack alert at a Royal Mail sorting office in Sheffield.

The following February, he targeted mosques around the UK. One letter to worshippers in Hull included a warning that they were going to be “slaughtered very soon”.

‘Awards’ for attacks

In March 2017 he escalated his campaign, encouraging recipients of his post at the University of Sheffield to attack ethnic minorities, proposing that he would donate £100 to charity for each killing.

The court heard these letters amounted to soliciting to murder and Parnham’s guilty plea to this charger means he could now receive a life sentence.

A year later, Parnham sent out letters headlined “Punish a Muslim Day”, offering “awards” for attacks on people, mosques and Mecca.

He was eventually caught after his DNA and fingerprints were recovered from some of the letters, including one that he sent to Dylann Roof, a US white supremacist who is on death row for a mass murder of black churchgoers three years ago.

BBC News

A white supremacist behind the Punish a Muslim Day letters who encouraged murder and sent hoax letters to The Queen, Theresa May, and David Cameron is facing years behind bars today.

David Parnham, 35, targeted Asian MP, high profile political figures, Royalty, and Muslim centres including Finsbury Park Mosque with hundreds of poison pen letters threatening violence which stretch over two years.

Also among the victims was Tory peer and former security minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.

Parnham sent dozens of envelopes of white powder to his intended targets from his home in Lincoln.

He sparked full scale alerts over fears that it was anthrax or other poisons. However, the substances eventually turned out to be harmless.

He signed off letters to Asian MPs and Mosques as “Muslim Slayer” and included the phrase “P*ki filth”, according to prosecutors.

In a message to then-Prime Minister Mr Cameron, Parnham wrote the phrase “Allah is great”.

Mrs May, then Home Secretary, and The Queen were among the targets of a series of letters containing white powder which included the sinister phrase: “The clowns R coming 4 you”.

At the Old Bailey today, Parnham pleaded guilty to a series of charges including soliciting murder, making hoaxes, and sending letters with intent to cause distress.

He admitted being the source of the Punish a Muslim Day series of letters, which caused widespread alarm and panic when they spread on social media in March and May this year.

He had also sent out hate letters under different titles, including “The Great Cleanse” which was aimed at Mosques around London in August last year. In those notes, he suggested that Muslims should be “exterminated”.

In Parnham’s so called “Jigsaw” letters from February 2017, he included a picture of a person being decapitated with a sword with a Swastika insignia, including the phrase “blood will be spilled”.

In March last year, Parnham sent letters to homes around the University of Sheffield campus, urging people to “commit exterminations of minority racial and religious groups” and offering £100 for each murder.

A letter to a mosque in Sheffield in August last year read: “To filthy sub-human c********ers I have left a little present for you.it will go off in a short period of time.

“The results will be explosive! Muslim blood will make the floors sticky. Your brains will be splattered all over the walls. A good Muslim is a dead Muslim. Killin Muslims is awesome”.

Parnham’s letter writing campaign was eventually linked to the Punish a Muslim Day threats, which were circulated on social media and urged people to attack Muslims on April 3 this year

Police later discovered that Parnham was an avowed fan of white supremacist Dylann Roof, who shot dead nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Punish a Muslim Day initiative was timed to happened on Roof’s birthday.

Parnham even wrote a fan letter to the convicted mass murderer in an American prison in December 2016, saying: “I just wanted to thank you for opening my eyes. Ever since you carried out what I’d call the ‘cleansing’ I’ve felt differently about what you’d call ‘racial awareness’.”

He added: “ My main reason for disgust is Muslims. I hate these animals with a passion. I sent letters with white powder to some mosques in London they had to close down parliament because of it.”

In one of his last series of letters, under the menacing title “Bang! You’re dead”, Parnham targeted mosques and Asian families living nearby and included a picture of a man holding a gun.

He used the words: “I have acquired a weapon and I am more than prepared to use it on you and members of your Masjid”.

Parnham, from Lincoln, today pleaded guilty to soliciting to murder, five charges of hoaxes involving sending noxious substances, seven charges of sending letters with intent to cause distress or anxiety, one count of making a bomb hoax, and one count of encouraging offences believing one of more would be committed.

He was remanded in custody until a hearing on November 23 to decide when he will be sentenced.
Evening Standard

Alleged neo-Nazi, Claudia Patatas, 38, from Banbury, leaves Birmingham Crown Court (Aaron Chown/PA)

Alleged neo-Nazi, Claudia Patatas, 38, from Banbury, leaves Birmingham Crown Court (Aaron Chown/PA)

An alleged far-right terrorist posed for a photo cradling his new-born baby, wearing the hooded white robes of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a court heard.

Adam Thomas, 22, and his partner Claudia Patatas, 38, gave their child the middle name Adolf -which the prosecution has alleged was in honour of the infamous Nazi leader Hitler.

On Wednesday, a court also heard how Patatas had allegedly sent a WhatsApp message reading “all Jews must be put to death”, while Thomas bemoaned the fact he had a “fat p**i” as a work colleague.

Jurors were also shown another image, said to be of Thomas in a Klansmen’s robe and brandishing a machete in front of a Confederate flag.

The flag was shown hanging over a sofa, on which were two scatter cushions each bearing the Swastika.

The couple also allegedly had a poster stuck to their fridge reading “Britain is ours – the rest must go”.

The Crown have further claimed the couple were pictured at home with another man, a convicted racist and “vehement Nazi”, who was holding a Swastika flag and performing a Hitler-style salute over their baby.

Thomas and Patatas, both of Waltham Gardens, Banbury, Oxfordshire, are on trial at Birmingham Crown Court accused of being members of the far-right terrorist group National Action, banned in December 2016.

Co-defendant Daniel Bogunovic, 27, of Crown Hills Rise, Leicester, is also in the dock facing the same membership charge.

Thomas is facing a separate charge of having a terrorist document, the Anarchy Cookbook, which contained bomb-making instructions.

Barnaby Jameson QC, prosecuting, showed jurors a series of photographs said to be of Thomas in KKK robes, including one with the child.

He said: “The suggestion is that is Mr Thomas and his child, whose middle name is Adolf.”

Turning to an image of a hooded man with a machete, Mr Jameson added: “There is a strong inference, and you’ll appreciate this when you look inside the Thomas and Patatas’ house, that that was taken inside their home, and that the person in the robes was Thomas.”

It emerged in court that counter-terrorism officers from Prevent had visited the couple’s home in October last year “due to concerns Ms Patatas may be involved in the extreme right wing”.

However, an online chat message allegedly sent by Thomas showed he was unfazed.

He said: “I have my flags up, lol – and f**k social services, they have no basis of claim of anything.”

In a message from work that Thomas is said to have sent to Patatas, bemoaning his colleagues in September 2017, he said: “A fat half bred n****r who is typical of the Birmingham type of mongrel, a fat p**i and a black as hell Rastafarian.

“What I’ve found is that all non-whites are intolerable but the ones who have lived here most of their lives are even worse.

“They have a more thuggery attitude about them as opposed to the sterotypical childish African.”

Mr Jameson took the jury through a series of what he described as “further shots from the Thomas-Patatas family album”, showing each of them with the Swastika flag, and another man, convicted racist Darren Fletcher.

Alleged neo-Nazi terrorist, Claudia Patatas, 38, from Banbury, arriving at court, where she and partner Thomas are on trial accused of being members of far-right extremist group National Action (Aaron Chown/PA)

Alleged neo-Nazi terrorist, Claudia Patatas, 38, from Banbury, arriving at court, where she and partner Thomas are on trial accused of being members of far-right extremist group National Action (Aaron Chown/PA)

Jurors were earlier told how Patatas allegedly sent a WhatsApp message on February 2017 to Fletcher, reading: “And all Jews must be put to death.”

Fletcher, the jury heard, has already admitted being a member of the banned organisation before the trial.

The 28-year-old, of Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, had a race hate conviction for dressing as a Ku Klux Klansman and hanging a “golliwog” from a noose while on stage at a White Pride event in 2013.

Following the ban, the prosecution alleged National Action tried to “shed one skin for another” in order to evade the law, and that the three defendants were part of a successor organisation called the TripleK Mafia.

The Crown’s case is that the group was still National Action in all but name, and merely went through a “re-branding” exercise to evade scrutiny by the authorities.

All three defendants deny wrong-doing and the trial, set to last four weeks, continues.

Belfast Telegraph