Far-right extremist who set off ‘fireball’ in his kitchen convicted of terrorism offences
Vaughn Dolphin, from Walsall, West Midlands, had spoken of his desire for ethnic minorities to be shot
A far-right extremist who accidentally set off a “fireball” in his own kitchen while experimenting with explosives has been convicted of terrorism offences.
Vaughn Dolphin, who had spoken of his desire for ethnic minorities to be shot, was found guilty on a series of charges after a jury viewed videos and incriminating conversations on social media.
In one self-filmed video, he was seen in a gas mask surrounded by a choking cloud of smoke after attempting to blend a blast mixture in a saucepan on a domestic hob.
Dolphin spoke of causing an “awesome fireball” in videos posted on far-right chatrooms, in which he complained: “Ah the bastard fucking mixture set itself prematurely, oh my God. Next time I’ll do this outside, but, ah well, you live and learn.”
When arrested in June 2022 at his grandfather’s home, the 20-year-old college student told police: “I’m not a terrorist, OK? I have an interest in chemicals and military memorabilia, that’s all.”
Dolphin, from Walsall in the West Midlands, was convicted at Birmingham crown court on two charges of possession of explosives, including nitrocellulose, discovered during a raid on his home. He was also found guilty of having an unlicensed firearm that he had made from a length of aluminium tube and on terrorism charges.
An encrypted USB thumb-drive found on his bedroom shelf contained a series of DIY guides on constructing a shotgun, making homemade plastic explosives and conducting arson attacks.
The encrypted files were found in electronic folders with the name “Boogaloo”, which the prosecution claimed was a “significant” as it was used as a reference to “race war” in far-right circles.
Dolphin had also written on extremist channels on the social media platform Telegram of creating a handheld “cannon”, and about mixing gunpowder. He claimed he would do “something that would make [the Unabomber US terrorist] Ted Kaczynski blush”.
He had further ranted about his hatred of Muslims on one Telegram chatgroup and he was found to have a significant collection of material relating to the Nazis, including his own body armour in which he slid a plate bearing the symbol of the SS.
Others on the Telegram channels had warned Dolphin that he risked being arrested by the “Feds”, in what appeared to be a reference to the police. In response, Dolphin had said he would be safe as he had encrypted the incriminating material. He claimed he could argue that the explosive ingredients he had purchased were for “gardening” purposes.
Dolphin, who shrugged his shoulders while keeping his hands in his pockets as the verdicts were read out, will be sentenced on 11 May.
Ch Supt Mark Payne, the head of West Midlands counter-terrorism unit, said: “This was clearly a young man with a really dangerous mindset. I’ve got no doubt at all that his intent was to cause harm.”