Author Archives: virginiagolden

A teenager who downloaded manuals on how to make bombs and poisons has been sentenced to a 12-month referral order.

The 17-year-old from Gloucestershire, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was arrested by counter-terrorism police in December 2019.

Far-right symbols such as swastikas were found scratched into a desk in his bedroom, Bristol Youth Court was told.

Detailed guides explaining ways of killing someone were also found on his phone.

Gloucestershire Police said the boy’s electronic devices contained images of him performing Nazi salutes, posing with imitation firearms and memes of mass killers such as Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik.

The boy admitted 11 counts of collecting material of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring, chief magistrate for England and Wales, sentenced the teenager to a 12-month referral order, which included a programme of rehabilitation.

The judge said he felt the boy did not pose a significant risk of serious harm to the public.

Interest in ‘extreme Neo-Nazism’

“It is very important that you take this opportunity to pause and think,” the judge told the boy, saying that if he appeared before him again a custodial sentence was likely.

Prosecuting, Kelly Brocklehurst said the boy had an interest in an “extreme form of Neo-Nazism”.

In police interviews, the boy said he had not looked at some of the documents and said they may have appeared through a “bulk download”, Mr Brocklehurst said.

The boy, who did not distribute the documents he downloaded, claimed he was interested in psychology and wanted to write about extremism.

He told the judge he hadn’t realised he was breaking the law, and being arrested had been a “wake-up call”.

Speaking after the case, Det Supt Craig McWhinnie, head of Counter Terrorism Policing South West, said: “The entrenched views and hatred displayed by this young person combined with their consumption of violent and disturbing literature remain deeply concerning,” Mr McWhinnie said.

“This investigation is another stark reminder of the hateful and damaging material found online that, for all of us, is only a few clicks away.”

BBC News

Anti-Islam activist could face hefty legal bill after false claims led to Jamal Hijazi receiving death threats

The anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson has lost a libel case brought against him by a Syrian schoolboy who was filmed being attacked at school.

The English Defence League founder, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was sued by Jamal Hijazi after an incident in a school playground in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in October 2018.

Shortly after the video of the incident went viral, Robinson falsely claimed in Facebook videos viewed by nearly 1 million people that Hijazi was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school”.

He also claimed Hijazi, now 18, “beat a girl black and blue” and “threatened to stab” another boy at his school, allegations the teenager denies.

In a high court judgment on Thursday, Mr Justice Matthew Nicklin said the consequences of Robinson’s falsehoods had been “particularly severe” for Hijazi, to whom he awarded £100,000 in damages.

The judge said Robinson had made Hijazi out to be “a violent aggressor” in the playground incident when he was in fact the victim.

The activist used language “calculated to inflame the situation”, Nicklin said, ultimately causing Hijazi to abandon his education and forcing his family to flee their home.

The teenager received death threats after becoming a target for the far right. Nicklin said the scars from the incident would “likely last for many years, if not a lifetime”.

Hijazi’s lawyers said they were delighted he had been “entirely vindicated”. Francesca Flood of Burlingtons Legal said: “It took great courage for our client, Jamal Hijazi, to pursue his libel action against such a prominent far-right and anti-Islam activist as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, better known as Tommy Robinson.”

Robinson, who represented himself during the four-day trial, argued his comments were substantially true, claiming to have “uncovered dozens of accounts of aggressive, abusive and deceitful behaviour” by Hijazi.

However, the judge ruled Robinson had failed to prove each of his seven claims and that “in reality … his evidence fell woefully short”.

The judgment leaves Robinson, who has previously been financially supported by right-leaning groups in the US, facing a heavy monetary penalty at a time when he claims to be bankrupt.

Robinson said he was “gobsmacked” by the costs Hijazi’s lawyers were claiming, which he said included £70,000 for taking witness statements. He added: “I’ve not got any money. I’m bankrupt. I’ve struggled hugely with my own issues these last 12 months … I ain’t got it.”

Nicklin acknowledged there were “limits on what can be enforced against him” as a result of Robinson’s bankruptcy, but ruled he should pay Hijazi’s legal costs, which were not stated in court.

Robinson remains one of the UK’s highest-profile rightwing campaigners despite being banned from mainstream social media and beset by legal problems. The Luton-born activist has previously received hundreds of thousands of pounds in donations from wealthy international backers as well as ordinary supporters.

The judge said he did not believe the filmed attack against Hijazi was racially motivated. Bailey McLaren, the boy seen attacking Hijazi in the clip, had been “catapulted into the maelstrom of a media storm” and was also a victim in the case, Nicklin said.

He added: “In such circumstances, it is hardly surprising if Bailey regarded the defendant as something of a saviour; someone who was prepared to help him in what must have been a low and very frightening point of his life. With the benefit of hindsight and maturity, Bailey may yet come to reflect on whether he has actually been helped by the defendant.”

The Guardian

The full judgment is here Hijazi-v-Yaxley-Lennon-judgment-220721

Andrew Dymock had denied 15 offences relating to terrorism and hatred

A neo-Nazi student has been jailed after being convicted of fundraising for an extremist group and promoting its “distorted and wicked cause”.

Andrew Dymock, 24, from Bath, led the outlawed groups System Resistance Network (SRN) and Sonnenkrieg Division.

A judge said Dymock was “driven by an extreme mindset” and had taken the path of “total hatred and bigotry”.

He was convicted of 15 offences and jailed for seven years, with a further three years on extended licence.

The son of two academics, Dymock was arrested after a BBC News investigation in December 2018 exposed his extremist activities.

Judge Mark Dennis QC, sitting at The Old Bailey, said he believed Dymock was dangerous and posed a “significant risk of serious harm” to the public.

“It is clear you were a leader and not a follower”, he said.

Jurors were shown this image of Dymock during his trial

Dymock’s trial had heard he used the SRN website and a Twitter account to state that Jewish people should be exterminated and encourage lone actor terror attacks.

He advocated for societal collapse and a race war, and his ideology encompassed a violent form of Satanism.

Dymock wrote an online article stating a “racial holy war is inevitable” and that “every stabbing, bombing, shooting further plays into our hands”.

Images taken from SRN videos were shown to jurors

The former student had been supported throughout his trial by his parents, Stella and Dr David Dymock, a professor of dentistry at Bristol University, who he lived with in Bath.

The court heard they had written to the judge asking for leniency ahead of the sentencing.

Defence lawyer Andrew Morris said they were “extremely worried” about the impact of jail on their son.

BBC News

As the verdicts were delivered, he told jurors “thank you for killing me”

A neo-Nazi has been sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted of fundraising for an extreme right-wing group and promoting its “distorted and wicked cause”.

Andrew Dymock was found guilty in June of 12 terror offences including encouraging and funding terrorism, and three hate crimes targeting race and sexuality.

The 24-year-old founded two extreme right-wing groups which were proscribed as terror organisations in February 2020. He set up the System Resistance Network (SRN) group in 2017, promoting it on a website and Twitter before being expelled. After being “ousted” as leader of the SRN, he went on to form a new group.

On Wednesday at the Old Bailey, Judge Mark Dennis QC found Dymock to be a dangerous offender, highlighting his continuing “state of denial”. The judge said Dymock had been an “active and committed proponent for right wing neo-Nazi extremism”.

The Independent

Gareth Bradley caused outrage when he daubed a swastika and other offensive slogans on the Rhyl monument

A man who daubed Nazi and anti-Semitic graffiti on a war memorial today admitted committing racially-aggravated criminal damage.

Gareth Jack Bradley, 31, of Morlan Park, Rhyl, caused disgust after daubing a swastika, an Iron Cross and vile messages including “choke on chlorine Tommy” at the town last February.

Prosecutor James Neary at Llandudno court said Bradley had targeted a member of the Jewish community previously.

He urged that the present case should be sentenced by a crown court judge.

Bradley also pleaded guilty to assaulting a police custody detention officer at St Asaph in April when the prosecution said he coughed at her face during the Covid lockdown.

He also admitted on the same day damaging his cell with graffiti including a swastika again, possessing cannabis and four offences of vandalising vehicles in a spree at Rhyl leaving a repair bill of more than £9,000.

Defence solicitor Craig Hutchinson said Bradley had been “sectioned” under the mental health act and his situation had improved.

District Judge Paul Conlon said :”The offences are too serious for this court to deal with.” Bradley was granted bail until he’s sentenced by a crown court judge next month.”

Daily Post

Tony Richardson, who represented the Fens and Rossmere ward, made the post while in office

A former Hartlepool councillor has received a six week prison sentence for sharing an offensive post on social media.

Anthony Richardson, known as Tony, pleaded guilty to making a post on Facebook that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.

The 68-year-old, who previously represented the Fens and Rossmere ward, made the post while in office in 2019.

The case first went to Teesside Magistrates’ Court on June 25, but was adjourned in order for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

Mr Richardson appeared in court on July 8 and, alongside his prison time, was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £128 and costs of £85.

While representing his ward, council sanctions were put in place against Mr Richardson as punishment for sharing ‘offensive and racist’ Facebook posts.

He was reported to have shared a post likening an immigrant trying to claim benefits to a dog, leading to suspension from the Brexit party and a 2020 council investigation which resulted in him being barred from council committees.

After issuing an apology and attending equality and diversity training, he requested that he be allowed to sit on the council’s committees again.

In February 2021 his request was granted via a council vote, however, he was not re-elected in the May 2021 local elections.

He received just 380 votes standing for the Veterans and People’s Party.
Gazette Live

A far-right agitator drunkenly “fly-kicked” a police officer during a counter-demonstration to the Black Lives Matter movement, a court heard on Thursday.

Alfie Hubbard, 26, was part of a group who pelted police officers with missiles during demonstrations in central London in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

Prosecutor Fer Chinner called the group “right-wing extremist agitators” who had travelled to London to oppose the anti-racism movement, and claimed they were defending statues of historical importance.

As the situation grew increasingly volatile, one of the group, Daniel Allan, was caught on camera kicking Met Police Sergeant Richard Lambert in the back as he guarded his fellow officers.

“As he tried to get up to his knees and stand up, Alfie Hubbard – in a gratuitous and cowardly act of violence – ran towards the officer and fly-kicked him in the back before running away”, said the prosecutor.

Hubbard admitted violent disorder and was on Thursday handed a two-year suspended prison sentence at Southwark crown court.

“Your conduct was appalling”, said Judge Sally Cahill QC.

“This officer was already on the ground when you chose to kick him.

“The fact you were fully aware of what you were doing is shown by your conduct afterwards, when you ran off into the crowd as fast as you could. This was a very intentional act on your part.”

The court heard Hubbard, from Southwark, admitted travelling to “join the boys” in a counter-protest against the BLM demonstrations on June 13 last year.

“Among the agitators was a group of right-wing extremists and the prosecution say Alfie Hubbard was part of that group”, said Ms Chinner.

“They were shouting about the destruction of statues and being generally abusive towards police officers who were doing their best to make sure the protests remained peaceful and safe.”

Hubbard admitted he had been drinking heavily and taking cocaine during the day, but initially tried to claim the kick on Sgt Lambert was nothing more than a hop.

Ms Chinner said bodycam footage shows Hubbard “berating the police fairly consistently throughout the protests, being rude to them, and complaining about their failure to protect historical statues”.

“Towards the end of the day, Mr Hubbard is seen in Trafalagar Square standing together with a group who started making monkey gestures, shouting racist comments such as ‘go back to your own country’.”

The protests happened almost four weeks after the murder of Mr Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer, and a week after the statue of slave trader Edward Colston had been toppled by demonstrators in Bristol.

Allan, from Sunderland, was jailed for 28 months over the incident after admitting violent disorder.

Michael Edmonds, mitigating, said Hubbard is mixed race with a black mother and denies engaging in racist chanting.

“His behaviour that day was fuelled by alcohol”, he said. “It was a cowardly act which this defendant deeply regrets.”

He said Hubbard, who has no previous convictions, has “struggled” since the death of his brother from a drug overdose in 2018.

Hubbard was ordered to follow a curfew as part of his suspended prison sentence.

Evening Standard

Delusional conspiracy theorist Anthony Beckett attacked his pregnant partner with a hammer while she was in the bath

A DELUSIONAL conspiracy theorist attacked his pregnant partner with a hammer and tried to drown her in the bath after becoming obsessed with a ‘great revelation’.

Anthony Beckett launched the violent and murderous attack in January when he believed he had become the target for the Chinese and US security service after posting a number of QAnon theories about the Covid pandemic.

The 33-year-old, who had suffered from mental health problems for several years, had a machete, knives, and a homemade noose, hidden around his Middlesbrough home after becoming obsessed with the US election.

His brave partner managed to pull the plug on the bath while Beckett was attempting to strangle her before eventually managing to escape, naked into the street and call for help, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The couple’s two children were in the home while Beckett was attempting to murder his partner.

Jo Kidd, prosecuting, said the defendant has discussed the need to kill their family in the build-up to the ‘great revelation’ on January 20 and promised to seek medical help if nothing happened as his mental health deteriorated during lockdown.

But two days before the ‘great reset’ his mental health spiralled out of control and he grabbed a hammer before striking his partner four times as she rinsed her hair under the water in the bath.

“She describes it like a wrecking ball to her head,” said Miss Kidd. “She described four blows with the hammer and an unrelenting attack with a clear aim of killing her.

“He was saying ‘I need to do this, I need to do this’.

“She tried to fight back against the attack but he then put his hands around her throat and tried to drown her. He was squeezing her throat hard and she was struggling, trying to unhook the plug and reduce the water level; to reduce her risk of being held under the water and drowning.

“He repeatedly tried to get her head under the water. She was terrified and terrified for the safety of their children.

“She thought he would killer her and their children.”

Beckett, of Alnwick Court, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to attempted murder following the attack on January 18 this year.

Jonathan Walker, in mitigation, said his client had suffered serious mental health issues since childhood, predating his regular use of cannabis.

“He had no recollection of what happened that night,” he added.

“Thankfully, after this psychotic episode, when he began to collect his thoughts, his first words were for his children and for his partner. That has been the case throughout these proceedings.”

Judge Penny Moreland sentenced Beckett to ten years in custody.

She said: “At the time of committing this offence, you were suffering from a brief psychotic disorder or cannabis induced psychotic disorder. You were aware of the risk of drug-induced psychosis.”

The Northern Echo

Boy set up far-right online group where members discussed attacking refugees with Molotov cocktails and metal bats

A teenage neo-Nazi who threatened to launch an attack on migrants in Dover has admitted terror offences.

The 15-year-old, who cannot be named, discussed the potential attack in a far-right group he had created on the encrypted Telegram platform.

In September, he wrote: “I am planning an attack against the Dover coast where every Muslim and refugee has been given safety. If you’re interested tell me now.”

When another member asked what could be used in the attack, he listed potential weapons including Molotov cocktails and “metal bats”, while advising people to wear thick clothing that he claimed would protect against Tasers.

The boy, from Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to encouraging terrorism, and to possessing and disseminating a terrorist publication, on the first day of his trial on Monday.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that he had a previous conviction for threatening to blow up a mosque on 20 January last year, in what chief magistrate Paul Goldspring said had been described to him as a “bomb hoax, a prank and a joke”.

He was handed a referral order on 25 September 2020 after pleading guilty to an offence under the Malicious Communications Act.

He appeared in court alongside a 16-year-old boy from southeast London, who was a member of the same online group and had written racial slurs, referring to people as “P***s”.

The older boy added: “It’s gotten to the point I will casually walk up to someone with a gun and ‘POW’.” He admitted dissemination of a terrorist publication.

Mr Goldspring adjourned sentencing for both boys to 3 August for reports to be prepared, but said: “The custody threshold has been crossed.”

The 15-year-old, who appeared by video link from a youth remand centre, was remanded in custody, while the older boy, who appeared in court with his mother, was granted conditional bail.

The teenagers were arrested at their family homes in a coordinated police operation on 22 September.

Prosecutors said that police analysis of their phones and devices had “found a large quantity of extreme right-wing propaganda”, including photos, videos and documents.

The younger boy had downloaded footage of the Christchurch terror attack – in which a gunman filmed himself shooting 51 Muslim worshippers dead at mosques in March 2020 – when he was 14 years old.

The following month, the older defendant made videos involving Adolf Hitler, Nazis shooting victims in concentration camps, and a woman singing: “All Jews should die, race mixing is a sin”. He was 15 at the time.

The same boy had made numerous internet searches relating to guns, weapons and bombs.

The younger defendant established the online Telegram channel they were prosecuted over in August last year, and set about trying to recruit members on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

He saved and shared the “Anarchist Cookbook 2000” document, which contains instructions on how to manufacture explosives.

The older boy was prosecuted for disseminating a different terrorist publication, which prosecutors described as a “guide to committing terrorism in the name of right-wing extremism”.

Both boys initially denied the offences. The 15-year-old allegedly laughed when he was arrested, and told police: “Basically I’m far right and you guys don’t like it.”

During police interviews, he denied writing the post about attacking Dover and said he had not created the Telegram group.

The court heard he had admitted the offences on the basis that his actions were “reckless” rather than “intended”.

The 16-year-old admitted being part of the group when he was arrested at his home, but said he had “decided it was a bit too much and left”.

It is the latest terror case to involve child defendants in the UK. Earlier this month, official figures indicated that more than one in 10 terror suspects arrested in Britain is now a child.

The senior national coordinator for counterterrorism policing, Dean Haydon, said officers are seeing concerns about increasing numbers of children being drawn into extremism “come to fruition”.

“Covid-19 has driven huge numbers of people to spend a lot more time online, and we have seen an increase in the volume of online extremism – much of which sits below a criminal threshold, but which creates a permissive environment which makes it easier for extremists to peddle their brand of hatred,” he added.

“We cannot hope to arrest our way out of this problem – the only way we can hope to reverse this worrying prevalence of children in our arrest statistics is to stop them from being radicalised in the first place.”

The Independent

A hate speaker who was jailed over a series of public protests has been convicted of distributing an illegal image of a child performing a sex act with an animal over WhatsApp.

William Charlton, known as Billy, was locked up for 21 months in 2019 over speeches he gave at a series of planned demonstrations in Sunderland.

Charlton was convicted of five offences of stirring up racial hatred at five marches between September 2016 and July 2017 and was given a prison sentence in September 2019.

But by that time, police had already seized his phone after a video had been found, that he had sent to another man who had been arrested for an unrelated matter, which featured a child engaged in a sex act with an animal.

Charlton was tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court this week accused of sending the video clip to over 40 of his contacts over WhatsApp in June 2018.

The 57-year-old insisted he did not view the 18-second video, which featured a boy aged between 10-14 with the animal, before he forwarded it on and had no reason to suspect its contents were illegal.

Giving evidence from the witness box, Charlton told jurors he would regularly receive and send “daft jokes” over the messaging app on his phone and did not always watch them.

He added: “It was just daft joke messages, things like that, you know what I mean.

“I would just forward them on, not even thinking about it most of the time.”

Charlton insisted he had not watched the video featuring the donkey and child, that he had received from someone else.

He added: “It wasn’t something I would expect from him.

“He knows if he sent me images of children I would kick off with him, as I would anyone else.”

Charlton told jurors he is a “proud father and grandfather” and would receive and send messages thinking they were “daft jokes”.
He added: “Now, being branded a paedo over a stupid video I’ve never even seen, I would tell all my friends and family, get off it all.
“If you send something and you are not aware of it, you could be sitting here.”

He added: “I swear I’ve never seen it.”

Charlton, formerly of Seaham but now of Sidmouth Road, Gateshead, denied making an indecent photograph of a child and distributing an indecent photograph of a child.

The charge of making an indecent photograph of a child was withdrawn from the jury’s considerations but they found him guilty of distributing the image.

The court heard Charlton has already admitted possessing extreme pornography in relation to an image involving an adult engaging in sexual activity with an animal.

He has also pleaded guilty to another offence of “showing an act resulting or likely to result in serious injury”, again involving an adult, which were also on his phone.

Charlton will be sentenced on September 16 and has been granted bail in the meantime.

Judge Sarah Mallett said it was an “unusual” case but warned: “The sentence is not necessarily going to be of a duration that could be suspended.”

Christopher Rose, defending, urged the judge to consider a community-based sentence and added: “Even on the Crown’s case, it didn’t suggest Mr Charlton was a person doing this for a sexual interest in children.

“It is, on the evidence, quite clear that that wasn’t his reason and motivation for forwarding on this WhatsApp message.”

Sunderland Echo