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A 27-year-old man described in court as a Nazi has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years for being a member of a banned fascist group.

Alex Davies, of Swansea, was a member of National Action (NA) after it was outlawed in December 2016.

A jury found him guilty after it heard NA had not disbanded after its ban, but morphed into regional factions.

He was sentenced on Tuesday at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey in London.

Judge Mark Dennis QC also ordered him to spend a further year on extended licence.

During his trial at Winchester Crown Court, he was described as “probably the biggest Nazi of the lot”.

Some members of the group had celebrated the murder of MP Jo Cox and advocated a so-called “race war”.

Addressing the defendant in the dock, Judge Dennis said: “You are an intelligent and educated young man but you have held, over a period of many years, warped and shocking prejudices.”

‘Continuity faction’

Davies co-founded NA in Swansea in 2013, before leaving to study at Warwick University, in Coventry, a university he was subsequently forced out of due to his extremist views.

Prosecutor Barnaby Jameson told the court Davies had set up a group called National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action or NS131, which was also banned by the UK government.

Mr Jameson described it as a “continuity faction” of NA that covered the southern part of Great Britain.

Saying it was “expanding and recruiting”, he called Davies a “terrorist hiding in plain sight”.

Mr Jameson said NA and NS131 used the same colours, encrypted internet provider and ideology – a throwback to Nazi Germany – as well as the same leader, and regional structure.

He added: “Who was at the centre of all this? The founder, the galvaniser, the recruiter, one Alex Davies of Swansea. He was probably the biggest Nazi of the lot.”

‘Ideology of hatred’

In his defence, Davies claimed that NS131 was not set up as a continuation of NA and had different aims and processes, and he was only “exercising his democratic rights”.

Davies was the 19th person to be convicted of membership of NA, the first right-wing organisation to be banned since World War Two.

National Action was founded in 2013 by Ben Raymond and Alex Davies (pictured)

Fellow founder Ben Raymond, 33, of Swindon, had previously been found guilty at a separate trial of membership of a banned terrorist group.

In December last year, Raymond was jailed for eight years with a further two years on extended licence.

Together, Davies and Raymond had worked since the group’s creation in spreading an “ideology of hatred”, described as “incredibly dangerous” by counter-terrorism police.

The government acted after members of the organisation celebrated the actions of murderer and neo-Nazi Thomas Mair, who killed MP Jo Cox in June 2016.

Among those convicted of membership since December 2016 have been British soldier and Afghanistan veteran, Finnish-born Mikko Vehvilainen, and former Met probationary police officer Ben Hannam.

One of the group’s associates was convicted of making a working pipe bomb, while another, Jack Renshaw, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, later admitted plotting to kill MP Rosie Cooper with a machete.

Social media savvy

He was jailed for life with a minimum of 20 years.

Renshaw’s plot was only foiled after a National Action member blew the whistle on his former friends, reporting the plan to counter-extremist group Hope Not Hate, which passed the information to police.

NA was social media savvy, boasting self-taught propagandists among its ranks, though its membership never exceeded 100.

They created slick computer-generated imagery – including logos, and slogans for stickers, leaflets and posters – and targeted young people in particular for recruitment.

Some of their literature called for “white jihad”, but they had also created a policy document to “make way for national socialism to enter British politics”.

Other material had designs glorifying the anti-semitic messaging of Hitler’s Germany or praising the work of SS death squads.

BBC News

A man who attended a “knife survival” event in Essex has been jailed for three years for being a member of banned terror group National Action (NA). David Musins, 36, admitted his involvement with the extreme right-wing organisation after it was banned by the Government in December 2016.

On Friday (May 27), he was sentenced at the Old Bailey to three years in prison with a further year on extended licence. Judge Anthony Leonard QC had rejected his plea for a suspended sentence, saying: “You had a good education, you are a graduate and have held a responsible job as an operations manager.

“You accept you became involved with some very dangerous people over the internet while you were a member of National Action. That you left the group voluntarily is particularly significant, but it cannot expunge your earlier behaviour, which is abhorrent.”

Earlier, prosecutor Tom Williams told how Musins, from Muswell Hill, North London, had joined Iron March, a neo-Nazi web forum, in January 2016. In an introductory message he wrote that he was in his 20s, that he was based in London, and studied history before becoming interested in National Socialism, MyLondon reports.

The court heard that once a member of National Action, Musins had attended an “outdoor camping and knife survival event” in Epping Forest, Essex, along with many other events related to weapons and graffiti with high-ranking members who have since been convicted.

Mr Williams outlined the defendant’s substantial involvement with NA and a number of high-profile individuals who have since been convicted. In March 2016 he was listed as an attendee at an NA meeting at a pub in Paddington by Ben Hannam, who went on to lie on his application to join the Metropolitan Police.

On the meeting, Musins reflected that it was “great to sit down with people and get straight into it and talk properly about the real issues and hear some decent opinions for once”. The court heard he went on to attend a camp in Derbyshire and a march in Darlington, Co Durham.

In December 2016 NA was banned by then home secretary Amber Rudd, who described it as “a racist, antisemitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology”. Post-proscription, Musins and others remained active as the group re-emerged under the alias NS131.

Mr Williams said Musins attended a number of graffiti and training events with the same group of people. On January 15 2017, Musins attended a meeting with NA founder Alex Davies and others in a Yates pub in Swindon, Wiltshire.

The defendant had accepted that NS131 was discussed at this meeting, months before it emerged publicly online. The next month, he attended an indoor martial arts event, also in Swindon.

Three months later, he went to an “outdoor camping and knife survival event” in Epping Forest, Essex, the court heard. A graffiti event at a derelict building in Swindon followed in July, at which the group made a promotional film for NS131 which was posted on YouTube. At another graffiti event in August, Musins was pictured with others giving a Nazi salute above an NS131 banner.

On November 6 2019, the Iron March database was made public. That, and inquiries connected with Hannam’s trial last year, led Musins to be identified by police, the court was told. On November 10 last year, Musins was arrested and police seized black clothing, a black skull face covering, boxing gloves and spray paint from his home.

In mitigation, Lisa Bald argued for a suspended sentence, saying it was an exceptional case because Musins had changed his outlook. She said: “If someone has actually changed their view and changed the way they view the world, that surely is the hope we all have for people who find themselves entangled with extremism.”

Nick Price, head of the CPS counter terrorism division, said: “David Musins continued to associate with members of a banned right-wing group which perpetrated hateful and racist views. It is right that faced with the evidence against him he admitted this offence and has been sentenced.

“There is no place in society for these beliefs. Our team at the CPS has prosecuted a number of National Action cases since it became a proscribed organisation, and we will continue to prosecute all cases involving banned organisations where possible.”

Commander Richard Smith, of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “This was a detailed investigation which led to an admission of guilt and the team should be highly commended.

“Outwardly, Musins was unremarkable but secretly he willingly joined and took part in activities run by an extreme right-wing group of individuals, united by confused and hate-filled ideologies.”

Essex Live

A teenager with an “extreme right-wing mindset who endorsed warped ideology” has been detained for possessing and accessing terrorist publications.

Mason Yates, 19, of Widnes, Cheshire, admitted downloading two documents shared among a chat group on the encrypted Telegram app.

Manchester Crown Court heard they included instructions on how to prepare fireballs and explosive devices.

He was detained for 30 months for the offences between 2020 and January 2021.

The court heard Yates was a college student when he downloaded the documents.

‘Disturbing views’

Sentencing, Judge Alan Conrad QC told him: “For some years you have held an extreme right-wing mindset expressing hatred towards a number of minorities, religious, ethnic and other groups.

“Posts by you have endorsed those who have committed atrocities in the name of such warped ideology.”

He said he was in a “like minded” group who exchanged “disturbing views” using the encrypted platform which was “very dangerous”.

“It serves to encourage others and only needs one person to take it up for catastrophe to ensue.”

Judge Conrad concluded Yates retains his extremist mindset noting Yates attended a rally featuring far-right activist Tommy Robinson in Telford in January wearing a skull mask, two months after he was charged.

Yates also restored one of the documents to his phone hours after police returned his device and wiped all data from it, the court heard.

Yates had been referred to the government’s counter-terrorism programme Prevent when aged 13 and 16 but did not engage with the initiative, the court heard.

A support worker had reported him after he was heard to have said in class at college “I have not got just an issue with Muslims, it’s the whole of Islam”, “I have not been radicalised, I would be the one radicalising other people” and “I am as far-right as you can be”, the court heard.

Nicola Gatto, defending, said her client was not suggesting he had completely abandoned his views but “he is no longer as immersed in that world” and now works as a scaffolder and has a relationship.

Yates was bullied at school and lost his mother when he was aged 14 and is isolated within his family, the court was told.

Miss Gatto added: “He has spent long periods of time alone exposed to very worrying views on the internet. Part of this offending took place during the pandemic when he was even more isolated.”

Yates, of Elstree Court, who pleaded guilty, received 30 months detention in a young offenders institute and one-month concurrent term for possession of an extreme pornographic image on his phone.

BBC News

A Cheshire teenager who downloaded terrorist documents and posted vile racism online described himself as a ‘literal Nazi’. Right-wing extremist Mason Yates, 19, was referred to the counter-terrorism strategy Prevent when he was just 13 – and now he has been locked up for 30 months.

Police found copies of ‘100 Deadly Skills’, which provides instructions on knife attacks and making explosive devices, and the ‘White Resistance Manual’, giving directions on how to carry out ‘mass murder’ in advance of a ‘race war’, on his phone, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Yates, of Elstreet Court, Widnes, developed an ‘unsavoury obsession’ with right wing politics, Manchester Crown Court heard. His lawyer said Yates, who also displayed an interest in the murderer behind mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, spent hours on his computer and became ‘even more isolated’ during the pandemic.

Yates’ vile posts on the Telegram app were revealed after an undercover police officer posed as an extremist. Yates, then 17, was part of a Telegram channel featuring a network of like-minded young people with hateful views.

On Snapchat he said he was trying to convert someone to ‘hate ni*****, gays and Muslims’. In a voice note on Telegram he said the ‘real problem’ was with Jews, and said the British Army is ‘full of ni*****, gays and females who fight for the Jew’.

Yates, who was also found with disgusting extreme pornography – which he also claimed to find abhorrent – downloaded the two terrorist documents from the Telegram channel, prosecutor Philip McGhee said. Police went to arrest him at his home in January 2021, at 7am while he was asleep in a bedroom, where he had a ‘white pride’ flag.

Officers seized his mobile phone and returned it to him a few days later, after it had been wiped and had been restored to factory settings. When officers arrested him again in May, they discovered that Yates had downloaded ‘100 Deadly Skills’ and the ‘White Resistance Manual’ again.

“I don’t think they realise, raiding our houses f****** radicalises us more,” Yates told a friend. He told police had gone down a ‘rabbit hole’ online.

Yates said: “No matter like how far my ideology went, in no point did I ever intend to want to like or plan, never a thing or anything to hurt anyone.” Just a few days ago, Yates made a payment of £39.98 to a website called Knife Warehouse. Prosecutors said there was no evidence available to reveal what he had bought.

Yates, a trainee scaffolder, was first referred to Prevent when he was 13, when a ‘school visit’ was conducted with his parents. Concerns had been raised that Yates had been in discussion with chat rooms with young people of a similar age, discussing how they could defeat ISIS by raising awareness of ISIS activity to protect citizens.

Then when he was aged 16, he was referred to Prevent by his college, who noted he attended class wearing a UKIP bracelet and discussed his political views in a ‘strong manner’. In class discussions, Yates was reported to have said ‘I haven’t got just an issue with Muslims, it’s the whole of Islam’, and ‘I haven’t been radicalised, I would be the one radicalising other people’.

He also said: “I’m as far right as you can be.” The referral was closed after Yates’ father declined help from the authorities.

Defending, Nicola Gatto said Yates was capable of ‘change’ and ‘de-radicalisation’. She said he had no friends at school and became ‘isolated’, spending hours on his computer.

His online network made him feel like he was ‘part of a family’. She claimed that he’d been groomed online and said it could be ‘dangerous’ for him to be jailed where he may come across other more sophisticated criminals.

Sentencing, Judge Alan Conrad QC said: “For some years you have held an extreme right wing mindset, expressing hatred towards a number of minorities, religious, ethnic and other groups. Posts by you have endorsed those who have committed atrocities in the name of such warped ideology.

“Your views are abhorrent to all right-thinking people. You have hate for all sorts of people who have not harmed you and who pose no threat to you.

“What has been seen of you tends to show isolation and an inability or unwillingness to engage with others and form relationships, and, as I have found in dealing with a number of these cases, are a common feature involving young men who – in their own homes – communicate with others of like mind to express their poisonous ideology and enter into very dangerous waters on the internet and via social media, obtaining extreme pornography and texts of which are of use to those interested in terrorism.”

Yates pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a document likely to be useful to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism; and possessing extreme pornography.

Following the case, Detective Chief Inspector Clare Devlin, from CTPNW, said: “This was a thorough and comprehensive investigation which has resulted in Yates facing imprisonment for 30 months.

“Today’s sentencing reaffirms our commitment to making sure those who pose a risk to our society will be pursued and prosecuted. Extremists using this kind of ideology can create fear and distrust among our communities and CTPNW is committed to finding those responsible and bringing them to justice.

“Reports of this nature are always taken seriously and we would encourage anyone with any concerns around people expressing extremist views to call the UK Anti-Terrorism Hotline in confidence on 0800 789 321, or alternatively, use the secure online form at”

Cheshire Live

A man from Muswell Hill has been jailed for being an “active” member of the banned far-right group National Action.

David Musins, of Creighton Avenue, admitted to belonging to a proscribed organisation at the Old Bailey on March 14.

The 36-year-old was handed a three-year jail term at the same court on Friday (May 27).

Judge Anthony Leonard QC said the circumstances made it hard to come to any other view than to conclude that Musins was “fully immersed in the ideology of the group”.

Rejecting his plea for a suspended sentence, the judge said: “Your involvement in the organisation was substantial.”

His involvement – over a period from around March 2016 to September 2017 – included attending the London branch of National Action, as well as events held in Derbyshire, Darlington and Swindon.

He was also involved in a promotional video for the group, which changed its name to NS131 after becoming a proscribed organisation in December 2016.

That level of involvement saw the judge arrive at an original starting point of six years in custody.

The final term reached came as a result of reductions to reflect guilty plea, and to account for the mitigating circumstances offered.

In terms of mitigation, the judge acknowledged that Musins left the group of his own accord, and that he sought help from a therapist following his arrest.

He had no previous convictions.

While “significant”, the judge maintained those factors did not “expunge” behaviour and beliefs he described as “abhorrent”.

“You accept that you became involved with some very dangerous people over the internet while you were a member of National Action,” he remarked.

The judge further acknowledged that the 36-year-old did not know National Action was a proscribed group, but said this did not alter his sentencing.

In a letter written to the court, Musins admitted to becoming a “racist in a separatist sense” during this period.

The judge said those beliefs demonstrated a “commitment to hostility”, which supported his view that a custodial sentence must be imposed.

Musins was arrested by counter-terrorism officers on November 10, 2021 and charged with the offence on February 4 this year.

He will serve a further year on extended licence following the conclusion of his custodial sentence.


Teenager from Darlington thought to be youngest person in UK charged with terrorism offences

A teenager who downloaded guides to making bombs, and is thought to be the youngest person in the UK charged with terrorism offences, has avoided jail after being sentenced to a referral order.

The UK’s chief magistrate, Judge Paul Goldspring, sitting at Newton Aycliffe youth court in County Durham, said that if the 14-year-old boy had been an adult, he would be facing a jail sentence of up to five years.

The boy, from Darlington, downloaded substantial amounts of material on how to make weapons and bombs and how to start a militia. He expressed admiration for the Columbine High school massacre and came to the attention of counter terror police when, on social media, he talked about blowing up an orphanage.

He had an interest in the far right and posted messages and material that was racist, homophobic, antisemitic and Islamophobic. He was 11 when he downloaded an image of Adolf Hitler from 1933.

The boy told the judge that it was all a fantasy and bravado, and that he would never have carried out the kind of attacks he talked about online.

The court heard that the boy was on the autism spectrum. He first appeared at Westminster magistrates court in January when he admitted three counts of possessing material useful to a terrorist.

The judge said the views expressed by the boy were “disgusting”.

“Just about every minority receives your vitriol, and the terminology you used was concerning and abhorrent in equal measure.”

But the judge added that imposing a custodial sentence would undo all the rehabilitation the boy had achieved over the past year.

Defence solicitor, Stephen Andrews, said the boy had experienced traumatic family events which had taken their toll. “You have before the courts a very complex young man, showing signs of both extreme naivety and vulnerability, at the same time as elements of sophistication.”

Andrews said the boy was bullied and extremely isolated, and the internet appeared to be a way of changing that, a way of making himself “look cool”.

He continued: “All of a sudden, he has an identity. All of a sudden he belongs to something. All of a sudden he is part of a group.”

The judge questioned to the boy directly, telling him that he was taking a risk by not imposing a custodial sentence.

He asked about his interests – football and hanging out with mates – and whether he held the views he espoused online. “No,” the boy replied “It doesn’t matter what religion or race you are.”

Det Supt Matthew Davison, the regional Prevent co-ordinator at Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said the case illustrated how young people can be radicalised in a strikingly short space of time. “Crossing the line from things that can be quite innocent into what can become criminal can be very quick and very short.”

Davison said the pandemic and lockdowns had led to young people spending more time online, alone in their bedrooms, and that was a concern.

“It can be quite a short journey and that’s why it’s so important for families, friends, parents or guardians to be aware of the signs to look out for. They should trust their instincts and act early.

“Our mantra is, the earlier we can act, the more we can prevent people progressing down the road to criminality.”

The Guardian

An “arrogant” Hells Angels leader is behind bars after getting involved in large-scale violence during a counter demonstration at a Black Lives Matter march.

Widespread trouble flared when members of North East Frontline Patriots, Protect the Monument from Black Lives Matter and other groups, including Hells Angels and veterans, attended the organised demonstration in Newcastle in June 2020.

The counter protestors said they were there to “protect” the city’s Grey’s Monument from the Black Lives Matter demonstrators and around 1,000 people in total gathered round the statue that day, including police officers.

The monument is an 1838 Grade I-listed memorial to Charles Grey whose government enacted the Slavery Abolition Act.

However, the act is controversial as it compensated slave owners for the loss of their “property”.

Newcastle Crown Court heard both groups stated they planned a “peaceful” protest.

But prosecutor Jolyon Perks told the court from about 2pm that day, parts of the crowd became hostile and violent and police officers, dogs and horses were injured as well as members of the public.

Objects including glass bottles, metal cans and smoke grenades were thrown.

Mr Perks said police officers were hit by missiles and suffered injuries ranging from redness to bruising, a dislocated finger and one had his foot trampled by a horse trying to avoid an object, which led to eight weeks off work.

One police horse had blood coming from the mouth, another needed treatment to a cut leg and one service dog suffered a wound to the face from a bottle that was thrown.

A 17-year-old who attended to peacefully demonstrate with the Black Lives Matter group was hit by a bottle as she tried to get away from the violence and suffered a wound to the head.

The court heard Colin Green is the leader of the Tyne and Wear Chapter of the Hells Angels and he was caught on CCTV among the counter protesters.

He threw no missiles or punches but was shown on the footage to be running at police, refusing to leave and ended up being bitten by a police dog then taken to hospital.

The 58-year-old of Church Street, Sunderland, who lives in accommodation provided by the Chapter and works at their bar, admitted violent disorder and has now been jailed for 29 months.

Judge Edward Bindloss said: “He is an influential figure of the Hells Angels in this area.

“My assessment of him on the footage is of him walking around in a cool, calm and arrogant manner, walking up to police, going behind police, striding around in a way that made me assess him as someone who thought he was untouchable.”

Judge Bindloss said Green played a “significant part” in what happened that day and added: “It could have been open to him to say to those in his chapter ‘we are off’, ‘we are leaving the scene’, ‘let’s go’.

“He chose not to do so.”

Nick Lane, defending, handed in references to Green’s ordinarily positive character.

Mr Lane said Green is “deeply ashamed and embarrassed by his conduct on the day” and has been involved in charity work including providing Covid hampers during lockdowns and planning events such as the Armed Services Day event in South Shields.

Christopher Butters, 42, of Moorland Avenue, Bedlington, Northumberland, was jailed for 31 months at the same hearing.

He also admitted violent disorder and had been shown on CCTV throwing missiles at police after he was hit by a mounted officer’s baton.
Sunderland Echo

Michael O’Brien, of Byker, had been among a group of Newcastle United supporters who stormed a Burnley pub just six months before the shameful city centre scenes

A convicted football yob has been jailed for taking part in a city centre riot when a baying mob clashed with Black Lives Matter supporters.

Just six months before participating in the shameful scenes in Newcastle, Michael O’Brien was one of a group of Newcastle United supporters who stormed a pub in Burnley after an away game. He was subsequently jailed for two years for that violent disorder.

Now O’Brien, who volunteers at a youth football club, and two other men – one of them, like O’Brien, said to be wearing a cap showing affiliation to “football risk groups”, have been locked up for their part in a loud and intimidating disturbance in June 2020.

Police officers, horses and dogs were injured, along with members of the public, as around 1,000 people, in two opposing groups, gathered at Grey’s Monument. A peaceful protest planned in support of the Black Lives Matter movement was met by counter-protesters who threw cans, bottles and other missiles.

Two men were jailed for their parts in the violent disorder on Tuesday and now O’Brien, Ronald Short and Ryan Barlow have joined them behind bars with all three sentenced to 27 months.

Newcastle Crown Court heard O’Brien, 55, of Beresford Gardens, Byker, Newcastle, who was wearing a Green Bay Packers cap, moved to the front of the counter-protest after flares were thrown by the Black Lives Matter group. He remonstrated with officers and was pushed away but refused to retreat.

The court heard he raised his hands to a member of the public who was shouting at him to go away and police intervened but he tried to move towards the Black Lives Matter group and police had to stop him.

He went on to tussle with police and tried to stop them detaining an offender then threw a can, hitting an officer on his helmet then joining in a surge. O’Brien was then seen to punch a member of the public, who was then also hit by someone else.

He was picked out by a football spotter who recognised him. The 55-year-old has 10 previous convictions, including for violent disorder six months before the city centre riot, after travelling to a Newcastle United match at Burnley and became involved in violence in a pub. He was jailed for two years and given a Football Banning Order for that.

Short, 28, of Stockwell Greet, Walkerville, Newcastle, who has previous convictions for threatening behaviour, battery and drunk and disorderly, was seen on footage wearing a Newcastle United face mask and a Green Bay Packers cap. Others were wearing the same cap and prosecutors suggested “this meant he has an affiliation to football risk groups”.

The court heard he was seen to pick up an item and hurl it towards the police and Black Lives Matter group then he searched the floor and found three more missiles which he threw, according to prosecutors but he pleaded guilty on the basis he only threw two items.

Barlow, 28, of Parklands Way, Felling, Gateshead, who has no previous convictions, who was not said to be affiliated with any specific group, was seen to throw a can of Stella Artois toward the police and Black Lives Matter supporters, which contributed to an escalation in a tense situation.

He was asked to leave by police but refused and was seen with his arms up joining in chanting. He was then seen to pick up items from the floor and threw them at mounted police.

One police officer on a horse was struck in the head and Barlow then threw a carrier bag containing items, possibly bottles or cans, which hit a horse in the face and head then landed on a police dog.

Helen Towers, for O’Brien, said there were a number of references for him and said he volunteers at a youth football club. She added that he had been elected by fellow prisoners as a violence reduction representative and has “excelled” in prison.

Miss Towers added: “He accepts full responsibility for his completely unacceptable behaviour. He bitterly regrets his actions and is determined to turn his life around.”

Jonathan Cousins, for Short, said: “When he got out of bed that morning to attend this protest it was not with any intention to commit acts of violence. He understands it was completely unacceptable and he regretted what he did almost immediately after it happened and has regretted it ever since.”

Brian Hegarty, for Barlow, said he threw a can he was drinking from as an “instinctive reaction” to items being thrown from the other group. He added: “What he did was reckless but not intended to hurt anybody and he very much hopes he didn’t hurt anybody.”

Mr Hegarty said Barlow was not linked to any of the groups who attended and had gone there after reading about the protest on Facebook. He added: “He is embarrassed and ashamed of himself about getting involved. He fully accepts what he did was stupid and he should not have put himself in that position. He has shown remorse and was at a low ebb at the time.”

Newcastle Chronicle

Thugs from the counter-demonstration began throwing glass bottles, metal cans and smoke grenades in chaotic scenes at Grey’s Monument

Police officers, horses, dogs and members of the public were injured during a riot caused by thugs demonstrating against a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.

Member of a counter-demonstration chose to attend Grey’s Monument in Newcastle city centre at the same time as the planned show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and some came prepared for a violent showdown. Ugly and frightening scenes on a Saturday afternoon were captured on CCTV as a barrage of bottles, cans and smoke grenades were thrown while around 1,000 people gathered and 180 police officers were verbally abused as they tried to keep the two groups apart.

Several Northumbria Police officers, animals and members of the public were hurt in the appalling outbreak of violence. Now three of those responsible – children’s football coach Christopher Bone, then-council worker Craig Hornsby and ex joiner Neil Drummond – have been sentenced for violent disorder at Newcastle Crown Court. Around 30 people have pleaded guilty and are to be sentenced in the coming days.

The court heard there was a peaceful demonstration planned in support of Black Lives Matter on Saturday June 13, 2020. However police were told a group called the North East Front Line Patriots, along with Hell’s Angels, veterans and some with a history of football violence, were to hold a counter demonstration at the same time in the same place.

The counter-protesters claimed to be there to protect Grey’s Monument from anarchists but a judge said it was the counter-protesters who were responsible for the bulk of the violence, which they started and continued. Despite repeated warnings by police to disperse, a hardcore of 50 to 60 remained for hours.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said: “From 2pm, some protesters became hostile and instigated public disorder. Objects were thrown at police and protesters, including glass bottles, metal cans and smoke grenades.

“Several police officers, service animals, including a number of dogs and horses and members of the public were injured.” One PC at the back of the counter protest was hit in the base of the neck by a full, unopened can of lager. He stumbled forward and was then hit on the back of his helmet with a glass bottle.

An inspector was hit in the chest by a can of lager and a bottle smashed at his feet. He also saw someone grabbing a police officer’s baton and witnessed a horse bleeding from its mouth and another horse with a cut to its leg.

Another PC was struck with a bottle to his hand and suffered a dislocated finger and a colleague suffered an injured foot when a missile was thrown towards a horse and it jumped back and stood on his foot.

The court heard police horse Peroni was hit in the face with a full can of beer and also suffered a cut leg while police dog, Ivan, suffered a cut to his eyebrow.

One PC was hit in the face with a can of lager and another was punched in the face by a counter-protester. Another was bitten by a police dog after someone antagonised it.

The court heard a 17-year-old girl in the Black Live Matter group decided to leave the demonstration and as she did so was struck in the back of the head by a beer bottle. She needed hospital treatment for a wound to her head.

Bone was present in the area from that morning and footage shows him marshalling and beckoning others to move towards the police line and he was seen aggressively gesturing towards the other group.

He was seen to throw a can which appeared to strike a senior police officer. He was later seen picking up a plastic bag and throwing it and it’s contents at the police line, striking an officer. He also obstructed efforts by the police to move the group back and continued pointing and shouting and pushing.

The court heard Bone’s previous convictions include rioting in Portugal during the Euros in 2008 and failing to comply with a Football Banning Order.

Hornsby threw a bottle towards the police line. He then threw a further three bottles at the police and Black Lives Matter group. Mr Perks said: “A PC was struck in the body and smashed glass caused injury to police horses and dogs and a member of the public was struck.”

Drummond was with a group of protesters chanting and shouting towards the Black Lives Matter group and took part in a racist song. He was also seen ranting at police about not allowing anarchy in the city and said he wanted to “protect our statues against anarchy and liberalism”.

Sentencing them, Judge Edward Bindloss said he gave little or no weight to the argument they had been there to protect the monument from anarchists and said: “The bulk of the violence and the bulk of the necessity for the police being there was to hold back the counter-protesters.”

Bone, 46, of Affleck Street Gateshead, Hornsby, 52, of Wordsworth Close, Hexham, and Drummond, 65, of Audley Road, South Gosforth, Newcastle, all admitted violent disorder. Bone was jailed for 29 months, Hornsby got 38 months and Drummond got two years suspended for two years with a one month curfew. His sentence was only suspended on medical grounds as he has cancer, including a brain tumour.

Elizabeth Muir, for Bone, said references “speak of a different man to the man one can see behaving atrociously on the CCTV”.

She added: “He is a qualified football coach and has been very much involved in children’s football coaching. That’s why this behaviour is so utterly appalling.” Miss Muir said Bone’s son, who has suffered serious health issues, and partner would suffer by him being jailed.

Christopher Bone, jailed for violent disorder

Andrew Turton, for Hornsby, said he is remorseful and didn’t attend intending to cause trouble and that his main concern was to protect the Grey’s Monument statue. He said throwing missiles was a reaction to items being thrown the other way.

Craig Hornsby, jailed for violent disorder

He added that he was brought up with a military background and denies being aligned to any groups or being a member of any hate crime groups or holding racist values. He was a tenancy support officer at Derwentside Council but was sacked as a result of the offence.

Tom Bennett, for Drummond, said he claimed he had gone to town to go shopping, despite it being the height of lockdown and became concerned damage would be done as it had been to statues in other areas.

But Judge Bindloss remarked: “All of the people I have to sentence are counter-protesters. People are saying they are here to defend people from anarchists – the only people committing violence were Mr Drummond and his ilk.”

Mr Bennett added that Drummond is having treatment for cancer and is now reliant on others.
Newcastle Chronicle

A boy who downloaded manuals for explosives and tweeted that he was a “domestic terror threat” who would “bomb a synagogue” has avoided custody.

The 16-year-old was arrested in Bootle, Merseyside, in 2021 after authorities in the US were alerted to his post.

Liverpool Youth Court heard he had also been pictured doing a Nazi salute and a “white power” symbol.

However, chief magistrate Paul Goldspring said he believed detaining the boy may undo his rehabilitation.

Handing the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a 12-month referral order, he said a “non-custodial sentence would be in the public interest”.

‘Most appalling behaviour’

The court heard how the boy, who is autistic, was arrested on 28 May 2021 after taking to Twitter to post a message which read: “I am a domestic terror threat. I will bomb a synagogue.”

The hearing was also told he had searched online for “nearest synagogue to me”.

Prosecutor Diana Wilson said on arrest, the boy told his mother the post “was a joke”, but a subsequent search of his devices showed he had downloaded handbooks about weapons.

Ms Wilson said the documents were “lengthy, difficult to obtain, detailed descriptions of how to make bombs”.

She also said the boy had created numerous posts which were anti-Semitic, racist, transphobic, homophobic and reflected an incel ideology.

Defending, Gerard Pitt said the teenager had been introduced to a far-right community after he began playing Fortnite online and had found forming relationships within the video game and on Twitter easier than in his everyday life.

He said the boy also followed some “professional trolls” and began “making his own content” in 2020, sharing messages, documents and online searches, but there was no evidence he had tried to build a bomb and he no longer held the same views.

The boy admitted one count of possessing a document containing information useful to terrorism, two counts of racial hatred by distributing a recording, three of publishing material to stir up racial hatred and one of sending by an offensive message.

Sentencing him, Mr Goldspring said the boy had said “something derogatory” about “virtually every minority group that exists” and had shown “some of the most appalling behaviour by a young person I have seen”.

He said reading the court documents, his “heart sank” at the “scale, scope and nature of your hatred”, but he had decided detaining the boy would be inappropriate and could undo rehabilitative steps he had made.

He added that while he had “struggled greatly with making the decision”, he was of the belief that “a non-custodial sentence would be in the public interest”.

BBC News