Prison officer facing jail for possessing terrorist handbook

A “neo-Nazi” prison officer from South Yorkshire has been told he faces jail for possessing a terrorist handbook.

Ashley Podsiad-Sharp, 42, who worked at HMP Leeds until his arrest last May, was found guilty on Thursday of possessing a white supremacist handbook including advice on how to kill people.

He was cleared of a second charge of disseminating terrorist material by a Sheffield Crown Court jury on Friday.

But a judge warned him he would be jailed when he is sentenced in July.

Podsiad-Sharp, a father-of-two from the Barnsley area, founded a fitness club for neo-Nazis in 2020.

Prosecutors had alleged he was using White Stag Athletic Club, where he called himself “Sarge”, to train up extremists “like a soldier”.

But jurors cleared him of disseminating terrorist material in relation to rap songs with racist and extreme right-wing lyrics he posted on the group’s Telegram channel.

Podsiad-Sharp had told his trial the songs were “comedic parody,” saying: “It’s how the national socialist sense of humour works.”

He was convicted of possessing terrorist material after a copy of the White Resistance Manual, a far-right terrorist handbook, was found on his laptop in an encrypted “virtual safe”.

Judge Jeremy Richardson KC told Podsiad-Sharp the offence was “very serious” and “there is but one sentence in a case of this kind, and that is a sentence of imprisonment”.

“You had possession of an extremely detailed manual setting out the way in which terrorists could kill people, maim people, and in many respects endeavour to avoid detection,” he added.

Podsiad-Sharp was remanded in custody until a sentencing hearing on 21 July.

Det Chf Supt James Dunkerley, of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: “Tackling extremist and instructional material is an essential part of protecting the public and preventing it from potentially influencing or informing the actions of others.

“We will prosecute anyone found to be in possession of such material and will continue work with our partners to remove content of concern from online platforms.”

BBC News

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