Cpl Mikko Vehvilainen found not guilty over Breivik manifesto after admitting having CS gas
A serving British soldier who kept a photo of himself giving a Nazi-style salute has been cleared of a terrorism offence.
Cpl Mikko Vehvilainen, a white supremacist who collected a host of legally held weaponry, pleaded guilty to a separate charge of having a banned canister of CS gas, which he kept in a drawer at a property he was renovating in Llansilin, Powys.
A jury at Birmingham crown court cleared him of possession of a terrorism document – a charge that related to a manifesto by the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik – and two counts of stirring up racial hatred, relating to forum posts on a white nationalist website.
Vehvilainen, of the Royal Anglian Regiment, kept a homemade target dummy in the garage of his barracks home at Sennybridge Camp, Brecon, and had a container filled with 11 knives, knuckle-dusters, a face mask and a box of Nazi flags, all legally held.
He kept a licensed shotgun, a crossbow and bow and homemade arrows, he had wiring and electrical parts capable of being made into a crude electro-magnetic pulse device, and he customised army-issue body armour, spray-painting it black. He also had a Hitler Youth knife and an SS ceremonial dagger.
Vehvilainen wrote to two men jailed for race crimes, including a man convicted of making antisemitic remarks to the Labour MP Luciana Berger, telling them “there is still hope”. He wrote a draft of an extreme rightwing magazine he entitled Extinction, in which he railed against mixed-race relationships, “unnatural” homosexuality and “non-whites”.
Vehvilainen’s phone showed 900 visits to a white nationalist website, Cristogenea.org.
Vehvilainen’s barrister, Pavlos Panayi QC, told jurors at the start of the trial that it was “not in dispute that he [Vehvilainen] is a racist”, but he said it was not a crime simply to hold such views.
The prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said that in collecting weapons Vehvilainen was “putting into effect his repeated call, quite literally, to arms on the part of those who, like him, wanted to create a white-only society”.
An entry in a notebook found at Vehvilainen’s address, read: “Be prepared to fight and die for your race in a possible last stand for our survival.”
Atkinson said: “The lists [of weapons], and indeed the substantial quantity of weaponry recovered from his address, reveal and speak to his intention to stockpile weapons and other equipment in preparation for the ‘race war’ that he spoke of.”
In Vehvilainen’s wardrobe, where he kept his uniform, police found a Nazi flag pinned to the inside of the door. When he opened the door for officers, he turned to them and said: “That’s what this is about, isn’t it?”
On his arrest on 5 September last year, Vehvilainen told his wife: “I’m being arrested for being a patriot.”
He was on trial alongside Pte Mark Barrett, 25, also of the Royal Anglians, and formerly of Kendrew barracks, Cottesmore, Rutland. Barrett was acquitted of a charge of membership of the proscribed far-right organisation National Action.
A 23-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was cleared of having Breivik’s manifesto but convicted of three other terrorism offences.
Vehvilainen and the 23-year-old will be sentenced on Friday.