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.”