Norwich: Man, 25, goes on trial for terror offences
A neo-Nazi former soldier accused of possessing terrorist publications had been obsessed with the far right since the age of 13, a court has heard.
The Norwich 25-year-old – who the court has ruled can only be named as S Forster – is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of having materials that included designs and instructions for making explosives, incendiary devices and bombs.
He denies three charges of possessing information likely to be “useful” to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
Forster – had joined the Royal Anglian Regiment in May 2016, but was discharged after basic training because he was “ultimately deemed unsuitable” after engaging in “extreme-right rhetoric”, the court heard.
Ben Lloyd, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was fascinated by extreme right wing views and the prosecution says that the material involved in this case shows he shared such views and beliefs himself.
“He also had an interest in weapons like guns, knives and explosives.”
A jury at the central criminal court was told he had accepted that he had been involved with the far right since he was aged about 13 and that his school books included doodles stating ‘vote National Front’.
He was excluded from college in Norwich in May 2015 over his views and a student supervisor had referred him to the Prevent programme where he had admitted being a youth recruiter for far right group National Action (NA).
He also said he had attended events with former BNP leader Nick Griffin, written anti-semitic graffiti and posted that David Cameron “should be hung”.
“He engaged with Prevent for about seven months. He had briefly joined the army but was discharged due to his association with National Action,” said Mr Lloyd.
“When NA was legal, he had been involved in printing off posters for them.
“In the past, he described himself as being ‘obsessed’ with right wing culture.”
Police who raided his one-bedroom flat on Cardiff Road in Norwich’s Golden Triangle on April 6 last year discovered on Forster’s phone a 24-page document named Middle Eastern Terrorist – Bomb Designs.
It included diagrams and instructions for making make-shift weapons including gasoline and cement bombs and a chemical firing device.
Officers also found The Advanced Anarchist Arsenal downloaded on his mobile device and a hard copy of a book called US Army Improvised Munitions Handbook.
“For good reason the law makes it a criminal offence to possess material that could be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism,” said Mr Lloyd.
He added: “The prosecution does not allege that this defendant was actively making plans himself to commit a terrorist act.”
The court heard Forster’s flat contained pictures of Adolf Hitler and weapons, a National Front poster and stickers and other far right materials.
Police also found copies of The Great Replacement, an online manifesto penned by New Zealand mosque mass shooter Brenton Tarrant, and Seizure, the collected writings of notorious US neo-Nazi James Mason.
Phone files and online searches included items on ethnic cleansing, guns, militaria as well as National Action and Combat 18, the court heard.
Forster has pleaded guilty to possessing an item called the DIY Sheet Metal Self-Loading Pistol – Practical Scrap Metal Small Arms, an “illustrated guide” for producing a firearm.
Mr Lloyd said the defendant may argue he clicked on the documents but did not intend to download them and that he acquired the book from the internet.
He went on: “The prosecution say those suggestions are untenable. The defendant knowingly obtained and stored this material.
“It is not plausible to suggest he did not know he had the material. Even if he did there can be no reasonable excuse for possessing any of the items.”
The trial continues.