Right-wing activists jailed over violent clashes between neo-Nazis and anti-fascists in Liverpool
Opposing factions hurled missiles and caused up to £25,000 of damage to St George’s Hall left daubed with Nazi swastikas
Right-wing activists involved in violent clashes between neo-Nazis and anti-fascists outside Lime Street Station have been jailed.
A woman was left scarred for life, a man suffered a broken nose and a police officer was knocked unconscious in ugly scenes last year.
Liverpool Crown Court heard opposing factions hurled missiles and caused up to £25,000 of damage to the historic St George’s Hall.
Nazi swastikas were daubed on walls, cobble stones were torn up from the building’s plateau and a Victorian statue was damaged.
Shane Calvert, Wayne Bell and Brian Stamp today appeared in court, alongside allies Nikki Prescott and Alan Raine. Calvert admitted conspiracy to commit violent disorder, while Bell was convicted after a trial. Prescott, Raine and Stamp admitted affray.
Bell liaised with Merseyside Police to organise “The White Man March” for now-banned fascist terrorist group National Action on August 15, 2015.The event, in Liverpool, ended in “humiliating failure” for the far right, after they were met by a much larger group of counter-protesters.
Simon Driver, prosecuting, said the fascists “were forced to take refuge in a left-luggage facility” before police escorted them to trains. Stung by the embarrassment, another far right group, the North West Infidels, headed to Liverpool on February 27, 2016.
Police were not informed and organiser Calvert deliberately changed the location of the “anti-immigration demonstration” from Manchester to Liverpool.
Fascists were again met by police and counter-protesters but had enlisted a group of Polish men called the “Polish Hooligans”. One cluster of far right-supporters congregated at the Crown Pub, including Stamp, Prescott and Raine, at around 11.30am.
A second group, including Calvert and Bell, gathered on the steps of St George’s Hall, as trouble flared at around 1.30pm.
Mr Driver said: “They displayed North West Infidels banners and neo-Nazi flags. They made gestures, which included the Nazi style ‘sieg heil’ salutes.”
CCTV showed the stand-off, with rival factions separated by riot police, who held the first group at the pub and escorted them away. Smoke canisters and fireworks were thrown and, at 2.30pm, the group near the hall were joined by the Poles.
They wore black hoodies emblazoned with “Polska Hooligans” and badges showing a person being kicked, captioned “good night left side”.
Police came under attack from both sides with industrial fireworks, flares, bottles, cobble stones and eggs. Mr Driver said: “A police inspector was knocked unconscious by a missile and a police constable suffered a broken wrist.”
A young female bystander suffered a facial gash requiring plastic surgery and a man suffered a cut and broken nose. People attending an antiques fair within the hall had to be locked in for their own safety.
A 75-year-old black woman who emerged was racially abused and struck in the forehead by a stone. Police eventually encircled the fascists and marched them to the station.
Mr Driver said Calvert wished to “avenge” the previous defeat, as shown in text messages to a man called Garron Helm. He and Bell, who bragged of punching left-wing activists “like that game whack attack”, recruited the Poles.
They exchanged messages talking of “payback time for Liverpool” and Bell spoke of “the local n***** population”.
Stamp boasted of buying “bad boy” gloves with reinforced knuckle-pads, which he was filmed wearing. Raine was recorded threatening “I’ll bite your f***ing face off” and Prescott yelling “come on then, let’s f***ing have it”.
Judge Menary imposed criminal behaviour orders, banning the five men from entering Liverpool for five years, for their “planned hooliganism”.
He said: “There will, I have no doubt, be those on both sides of this political divide who are motivated by a desire to promote genuinely-held ideological beliefs – however repugnant or deeply offensive those views might appear to others.
“But I am equally sure that many of the people involved in the disorder on these occasions have made the journey or have involved themselves for no reason other than to behave like hooligans.”
Judge Menary jailed Calvert, 36, from Blackburn, for two years and Stamp, 34, from South Shields, who “came to Liverpool prepared for a fight” for 16 months.
He jailed Bell, 37, from Castleford, for two and a half years, telling him: “Your attitude towards other groups was deeply offensive, racist and you celebrated violent confrontation.”
Unemployed Raine, 41, from Sunderland, and doorman Prescott, 43, from Blackburn, each received 16 months in jail, suspended for two years.
Raine received a 25-day rehabilitation activity, 200 hours of unpaid work and a four-month home curfew, from 8pm to 6am. Prescott must complete a 30-day rehabilitation activity, 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 compensation.