A man from Somerset has been found guilty and sentenced for sharing terrorist material and possession of explosives.
Following an investigation led by Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) and Counter Terrorism Policing South West (CTPSW), Dean Morrice of Pithay Court, Paulton was found guilty on Thursday (10/6) on eight counts by a unanimous jury and a further two counts on a majority verdict.
During a 15-day trial at Kingston Crown Court, jurors heard details of the 34-year-old’s offences. He was charged with a total of 10 counts and found guilty on all counts –
Three counts of dissemination of terrorist publication, contrary to section 2 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2006.
One count of encouraging terrorism, contrary to section 1 (1) of the Terrorism Act 2006;
Four counts of possession of a document or record for terrorist purposes, contrary to section 58 (1) (b) of the Terrorism Act 2000;
Two counts of having an explosive substance, contrary to section 4 (1) of the Explosive Substances Act 1883.
Today (14/6) Morrice was sentenced to a total of 23 years imprisonment – eighteen years custodial with a further five years for what the judge described as his dangerousness.
Morrice was arrested on 20 August 2020 and searches were carried out in Paulton near Bath as part of the investigation.
He was found to have terrorist material. This included the manifesto of other extreme right-wing terrorists and a video of a terrorist act in which he had superimposed a video of himself into the video while playing a guitar along to the harrowing scenes depicted. He then shared that video with others.
He was in possession of documents which included other convicted terrorist manifestos.
He was found to have used communication channels to send memes and videos which encouraged terrorism which included the use of anti-Semitic imagery, neo-Nazi propaganda and suggested support for a race war.
Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, Head of CTPSE, said: “The evidence in this case has shown that Morrice had a clear extreme right-wing ideology and had terrorist intentions.
“He was also in possession of terrorist literature including ‘weapon and militia manuals’ and distributed this to further aid his warped ideology and try and encourage others.
“Through dedicated investigation, Morrice was stopped before he was able to carry out any physical act of terror but the evidence showed that he actively encouraged terrorism to others with his toxic ideology and had the intention and potentially the capability to commit one himself.”
The court heard that during searches of his property, a 3D printer was discovered along with evidence to suggest he was trying to construct a weapon. He was also found to have other explosive substances in his possessions along with manuals about how to make guns and guerrilla warfare.
Det Chief Supt Barnes continued: “This is the first terrorism case which has taken evidence obtained by use of a 3D printer to court. CTPSE and CTPSW will continuously update knowledge and tactics to ensure the disruption of the wrongful use of new technology, as in this case.
“We work together across our network and with local forces and other law enforcement agencies to keep one step ahead.
“Although the weapon was not viable in the current state it was found in, in the wrong hands with the right capability it could have become one.
“I want to thank the dedicated investigation team and all our partners across the counter terrorism network, local forces and other law enforcement agencies in this case for all their hard work in getting this conviction.”
Chief Inspector Steve Kendall, Area Commander for Bath and North East Somerset, said: “People like Dean Morrice, who have extremist views and harbour such vile feelings of hatred towards sections of society, can live absolutely anywhere and although these instances are rare, they remind us we all need to be vigilant.
“While he evidently had the intent to equip himself with harmful substances and a weapon, there is no reason to believe any attack was imminent.
“His arrest in August last year undoubtedly concerned the community and I’d like to thank them for the restraint and resilience they showed following what was an unusual event.
“Public safety is our number one priority and we, together with all our security service partners, continue to work tirelessly to apprehend people like Morrice.
“If you are concerned about someone’s behaviour please contact us. We will be able to help with support, and where necessary, take appropriate action.”
Every year thousands of reports from the public help police tackle the terrorist threat and we need the public’s help and would always encourage people to report anything suspicious.