IT worker from Lincolnshire exposed as member of far-right terrorist group
An IT worker and former Army reservist from Lincolnshire has pleaded guilty to joining a terrorist group.
Joel Wilmore has admitted being a member of the extreme right-wing organisation National Action, which was banned in 2016.
The 24-year-old called Muslims an “infection on western civilisation”, adding “they deserve the fire and brand just as much as the Jews” during a conversation on Telegram messenger in February 2017.
He was due to stand trial alongside other members of the group at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday, November 12, but pleaded guilty before the court case began.
He will now be sentenced in a two-day hearing beginning on Friday, December 14.
Wilmore will also be sentenced for possession of a terrorist document called Homemade Molotov Cocktails.
The IT worker, who used to live in the county but was not here at the time of the offences, was one of several group members busted by police.
These included serving British soldier Mikko Vehvilainen, who also has links to Lincolnshire, according to the Daily Mail.
Adam Thomas, 22, and Claudia Patatas, 38, were found guilty at the trial on Monday of being members of the group.
The crown court was told the couple had given their child the middle name “Adolf”, which Thomas said was in “admiration” of Hitler, and had Swastika scatter cushions in their home.
Photographs recovered from their home also showed Thomas cradling his new-born son while wearing the hooded white robes of a Ku Klux Klansman.
In conversation with another National Action member, Patatas said “all Jews must be put to death,” while Thomas had once told his partner he “found that all non-whites are intolerable”.
Former Amazon security guard Thomas and Patatas, a wedding photographer originally from Portugal who also wanted to “bring back concentration camps”, were found guilty after a seven-week trial.
A third defendant – a leading member in National Action’s Midlands chapter, Daniel Bogunovic, 27, of Crown Hills Rise, Leicester – was also convicted of membership.
Jurors heard he already had a conviction from earlier this year for stirring up racial hatred after being part of a group that plastered a Birmingham university with offensive National Action stickers.
Thomas, a twice-failed Army applicant, was also convicted on a majority verdict of having a terrorist manual which jurors heard contained instructions on making “viable” bombs.
Following the lifting of legal restrictions, details can only now be reported of how Vehvilainen, 34, and National Action’s Midlands organiser Deakin, 24, were both convicted of membership back in March.
Both were later jailed at Birmingham Crown Court for eight years and were the first members of the banned organisation to be convicted under terrorism legislation.
Deakin and Vehvilainen, who was thrown out of the Army on conviction, had been members of private chat groups alongside Patatas, Thomas and Bogunovic, discussing the group’s operations.
In a chat involving Thomas, Fletcher, Pryke, Patatas, Vehvilainen and Wilmore, in February 2017 – two months after the ban – Deakin was telling his fellow members: “All Jews need burning – it’s symbolic.”
In another chat, on March 30, Vehvilainen told his comrades: “These things will be decided when we have won the war against the Jews, deported the muds (Muslims), and cleansed our lands.”
During the Thomas-Patatas trial, a photograph was shown of Fletcher performing a Nazi-style salute in the couple’s lounge, as Patatas smiled and cradled her baby.
More images from what prosecutors called the “the Thomas-Patatas family album” showed Thomas brandishing a machete in front of a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) flag in the lounge.
Another photo showed him with a powerful crossbow – one of two found inside the house – while police found a makeshift firing range in their yard.
One of the crossbows was found under the couple’s bed, a few feet from the baby’s crib, along with an axe in a sheath.
During two police searches at their home, officers also recovered further weapons from an “extensive” arsenal, including two machetes, one with a serrated 18in (46cm) blade, in their first-floor bedroom.
The couple also had a National Action poster stuck to their fridge reading “Britain is ours – the rest must go”, and a pastry-cutter shaped like a Swastika, kept in a kitchen cupboard.
There was also a Christmas card on the sideboard showing three robed KKK figures and the message “may all your Christmases be white”.
In a message to “vehement Nazi” Fletcher, Patatas said “all Jews must be put to death”, while Thomas, originally from Kingshurst Road, Birmingham, told his partner, “all non-whites are intolerable”.
Fletcher, of Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, was jailed for a year in 2014 for stirring up racial hatred after posting a video in which he dressed as a Klansman, and hanged a golliwog from a stage at a white supremacy event in Wales.
He was later jailed again for eight months for posting racist remarks online in 2015.
Thomas, a Holocaust-denier, told police he had held white supremacist views from the age of 11, and his stepfather was a member of white power band Skrewdriver.
However, it emerged during the trial that Thomas had travelled to Israel aged 18, where he lived for nearly two years.
He had considered converting to Judaism, he told jurors, despite also telling his trial that he believed the issue of whether the Holocaust happened or not was “complicated”.
National Action was banned by the Government in December 2016, as “a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation”, in part because of its members’ support for the killer of MP Jo Cox, Thomas Mair.
In one message, Fletcher had said: “Mair had the right idea.”
During a conversation on Telegram messenger in February 2017, Thomas and Fletcher talked of “bumping off” MPs.
In the same conversation, Wilmore called Muslims an “infection on western civilisation”, adding “they deserve the fire and brand just as much as the Jews”.
Jurors heard evidence of more social media chats involving Thomas, Patatas and Bogunovic, discussing what prosecutors have alleged was National Action’s continuing operation, under a different name.
Pryke, who railed against “Jews” in the chats – and cleared his incriminating message logs every night – spoke with Thomas of a forthcoming “race war”.
Thomas, in a Skype message just days after the ban, said: “F***ing traitors. Midlands will continue the fight alone.”
Jurors also heard how Thomas and Patatas plastered National Action stickers in public locations after the ban, while Bogunovic was calling for a “leadership” meeting in a chat group for senior members in April 2017.
Barnaby Jameson QC, prosecuting, said National Action had simply “shed one skin for another” by “re-branding” in order to evade the law.
In his trial opening, Mr Jameson said: “They were fanatical, highly motivated, energetic, closely-linked and mobile.
“And they all had, we say, a similar interest in ethnic cleansing, with violence if necessary, and the evidence in this case, we say, speaks for itself.”
Trial judge the Recorder of Birmingham Melbourne Inman QC told Bogunovic, Patatas and Thomas they and the three men who admitted membership prior to trial would be sentenced together in a two-day hearing beginning on Friday, December 14, and concluding on the Monday.
Turning to the jury, who deliberated for more than 12 hours, the judge added: “Thank you very much for your hard work.”
The three will be sentenced alongside Wilmore, 24, of Bramhall Road, Stockport, Greater Manchester, and goods drivers Pryke, of Dartford Road, March, Cambridge and Fletcher.
Wilmore will also be sentenced for possession of a terrorist document.
Patatas, who was bailed pending sentencing, left court without comment.
Following the convictions, West Midlands Police chief superintendent Matt Ward said that “National Action, the Midlands chapter… is no more”.
He added: “We’ve been able to dismantle one terrorist cell operating in the Midlands. It doesn’t mean there won’t be others, and it doesn’t mean they won’t adopt different names and identities going forward.”