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Police said he “crossed the line between free speech and the abuse of an entire group of people based on their ethnicity”

A 48-year-old man has been sentenced to a year in jail after making a speech aimed at stirring up racial hatred at a rally in Westminster.

Jonathan Bedford-Turner, of Rudgard Lane, Lincoln, was charged with inciting racial hatred on October 3 last year.

He was first arrested after making a speech in Whitehall with the “intention to stir up racial hatred” on July 4, 2015.

After pleading not guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on October 30 last year, he was found guilty on Monday (May 14) by a unanimous verdict at Southwark Crown Court.

He was jailed for 12 months but will serve half of the term in prison. He has been warned he will be at risk of licence recall if he re-offends.

Detective Sergeant Matt Hearing, investigating officer from Metropolitan Police’s Public Order and Resources Unit, said Bedford-Turner’s “intention was to stir up racial hatred”.

He added: “Bedford-Turner gave a speech in Whitehall that crossed the line between free speech and wholesale abuse of an entire group of people based on their ethnicity.”
Get West London

Jeremy Bedford-Turner called for England to be freed from ‘Jewish control’ at London rally

Jeremy Bedford-Turner. The prosecutor said that he was ‘obsessed’ with and ‘despised’ Jewish people. Photograph: Sam Blewett/PA

Jeremy Bedford-Turner. The prosecutor said that he was ‘obsessed’ with and ‘despised’ Jewish people. Photograph: Sam Blewett/PA

A far-right army veteran has been found guilty of stirring up racial hatred after the Crown Prosecution Service was pressured to reconsider its decision to not bring charges against him.

Jeremy Bedford-Turner, 48, called for his “soldiers” to liberate England from “Jewish control” in an address outside Downing Street and blamed Jews for issues ranging from both world wars to Jack the Ripper.

The CPS declined to prosecute after an initial complaint but reconsidered the decision after a group brought a legal challenge at the high court.

Bedford-Turner now faces up to seven years’ imprisonment after a jury at Southwark crown court on Monday found him guilty of one count of stirring up racial hatred after two hours of deliberation.

“Nice knowing you, chaps,” he told his supporters before entering the dock.

The 15-minute speech was made at a rally against Jewish neighbourhood watch group Shomrim in Whitehall on 4 July 2015.

Bedford-Turner, who served for 12 years in the army, and speaks Pashtu and Arabic, told the crowd: “Let’s free England from Jewish control. Let’s liberate this land. Listen, soldiers, listen to me. It’s time to liberate our country.”

Dozens of his supporters attended his two-day trial. Under cross-examination, he admitted that he wanted all Jews to leave the UK.

Louis Mably QC, prosecuting, said the defendant was obsessed with Jewish people and that he despised them.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) previously said it took the “unusual step” of bringing a judicial review after prosecutors declined to charge Bedford-Turner after an initial complaint.

“CAA was partly motivated by a growing concern that the CPS is failing to take antisemitic crime seriously,” a CAA spokesman said.

The CPS then said in March last year that it would get a more senior lawyer to review the case, and decided to press charges.

The case of Bedford-Turner, of no fixed abode, was adjourned until Monday afternoon when the judge will decide whether to sentence him at a later date.

The Guardian

A man has been jailed for eight years today after he was found guilty of distributing extremist publications.

The man − who cannot be named for legal reasons − was found guilty of two charges of possessing documents likely to be useful to a person preparing to commit an act of terrorism and distribution of a terrorist publication.

A 33-year-old soldier − Mikko Vehvilainen – has also been jailed for eight years but details of this offence cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.

Vehvilainen, who is a lance corporal in the army and born in Finland, was arrested by officers from West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) at his army base in Brecon, Powys in September 2017.

At an earlier hearing, Vehvilainen admitted a separate offence of being in possession of pepper spray.
Following a search of his military address, officers found a war hammer which had “Isaiah 48:22” carved into the handle referencing a passage from the Bible – “There is no peace, says the LORD, for the wicked”.

Also found were throwing knives, two crossbows, a number of arrows and component parts of an electromagnetic pulse device. A mannequin was found in Vehvilainen’s garage which had knife marks in the torso area.

West Midlands Police


A man has been convicted of committing terrorism offences after he was found guilty of distributing extremist publications.

The man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – was found guilty of two charges of possessing documents likely to be useful to a person preparing to commit an act of terrorism and distribution of a terrorist publication.

A 33-year-old soldier – Mikko Vehvilainen – was also found guilty but details of this offence cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.

Vehvilainen, who is a lance corporal working as a trainer in the army and born in Finland, was arrested by officers from West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) at his army base in Brecon, Powys in September 2017.

At an earlier hearing, Vehvilainen admitted a separate offence of being in possession of pepper spray.

Following a search of his military address, officers found a war hammer which had “Isaiah 48:22” carved into the handle referencing a passage from the Bible – “There is no peace, says the LORD, for the wicked”.

Also found were throwing knives, two crossbows, a number of arrows and component parts of an electromagnetic pulse device. A mannequin was found in Vehvilainen’s garage which had knife marks in the torso area.

A third man, 24-year-old Mark Barrett – a private in the military − also stood trial and was found not guilty of an offence which cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.

Detective Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, who heads the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “We are committed to tackling all forms of extremism which has the potential to threaten public safety and security.”

Anyone who sees or hears something that could be terrorist-related should act on their instincts and call the police in confidence on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always dial 999. Visit gov.uk/ACT for more information, including how to report extremist or terrorist content that is online.
West Midlands Police

A SOLDIER jailed for hate crimes after taunting a woman with racially abusive WhatsApp messages has been revealed to be an Irishman from Dublin.

Graham Bolger, a 23-year-old British Army Guardsman, sent a number of racially abusive comments about Turkish people and Muslims to a woman between July 2017 and November 2017.

The shamed soldier was thrown out of the Army after his messages were exposed in court.

The Sun reports that Bolger, who talked about killing Muslim children and claimed to be a Nazi, is originally from Clondalkin in west Dublin.

He was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in January after admitting two offences of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress which was racially or religiously aggravated.

His sentence was later uplifted from 16 weeks to 24 weeks after the CPS convinced the court that Bolger’s actions amount to a hate crime.

Videos played at Bolger’s trial showed the Dubliner performing a Nazi salute in his army uniform at the Infantry Training Centre in North Yorkshire.

Graham Bolger making a Nazi salute in uniform, and right, back home in Dublin last year (Image: CPS)

Graham Bolger making a Nazi salute in uniform, and right, back home in Dublin last year (Image: CPS)

His messaging of the woman was described as a campaign of hate – in one instance telling her that he joined the Army to “wipe out” Muslims.

He also told her that Hitler was “brilliant” and praised the Holocaust, branding Jews “money-grabbing c***s”.

After an internal review was ordered by General Sir Nick Carter, Bolger was promptly kicked out of the British Army.

“The Army has concluded its considerations in relation to this case, but we are not prepared to release any personal information about this individual,” said an Army spokesperson.

“We have a common law and Data Protection Act duty to protect the personal information of our employees and there is no good reason to release personal information in this case.”

CPS prosecutor Joyce Kerrins said Bolger’s conduct was “made worse” by his racially abusive comments.

She added: “Where a hate crime has been committed the CPS will always apply to the court to apply the law and give an ‘uplifted’ sentence which properly fully reflects the nature of the crime.

“The evidence provided by the prosecution, following a thorough police investigation, included social media messages and witness testimony and was pivotal to him pleading guilty to his crimes.

“I hope this prosecution empowers other victims of hate crimes to come forward and stop others from also being subjected to vile abuse.”

Irish Post

Mikko Vehvilainen accused of membership of banned neo-Nazi group

 A court sketch of Mikko Vehvilainen, left, and Mark Barrett, centre, on trial at Birmingham Crown Court. (Image: Elizabeth Cook)

A court sketch of Mikko Vehvilainen, left, and Mark Barrett, centre, on trial at Birmingham Crown Court. (Image: Elizabeth Cook)

The “racist” views of an Army trainer and alleged recruiter for banned neo-Nazi group National Action do not make him a criminal, a jury has been told.

The barrister for 33-year-old Lance Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen told jurors on Wednesday it was “not in dispute that he is a racist”.

Pavlos Panayi QC said: “It is not disputed that he has written and said things which the vast majority of people will find utterly repulsive, about black people, Jews, Muslims and lots of other minority groups.

“It is not disputed he has associated with other racists, men and women, from what might be called the Far Right, that might include neo-Nazis, and other different groups of people.”

But he added that while the “groundbreaking case” would test the limits of free speech and freedom of association in Britain, Vehvilainen’s actions were not criminal.

Vehvilainen and fellow Royal Anglian Regiment soldier, 25-year-old Private Mark Barrett are both on trial accused of membership of the far-right organisation, which was banned by the government in December 2016

Also facing the same charge at Birmingham Crown Court is a 23-year-old male who cannot be named for legal reasons, but who was described in court as a “regional leader” for the group.

The jury heard how Vehvilainen had a host lawfully held weapons including “guns, knives and crossbows” which he kept at his Army accommodation in Sennybridge Camp, Powys.

Jurors were also told he had pleaded guilty to unlawfully having a canister of CS spray among those weapons.

Addressing the jury after the prosecution’s opening speech, Mr Panayi said: “In many ways this case is unprecedented because you have heard that National Action was the first far-right group to be banned since the Second World War and this is the first prosecution arising out of that ban.

“It is a groundbreaking case.”

He added: “This case will test the limits of free speech, the freedom to say what you think and the freedom to frighten, offend and discuss.”

The QC said: “You are, in the end, going to have to determine in this case where the boundary lies between L/Cpl Mikko Vehvilainen’s right to speak freely, to think what he chooses to, and associate with others who share his views and where that boundary lies.

“Whether it crosses over into the reaches of criminal law or not.”

Vehvilainen, who is married with children, is also accused of two counts of stirring up racial hatred through posts on the US-based Christogenea.org website, where he used the name NicoChristian.

He has been further charged with possessing a document likely to be of use to terrorists – a copy of white nationalist Anders Breivik’s manifesto.

Counsel for Barrett, of Dhekalia Barracks, Cyprus, where he lived with his wife and children, also told the jury the case was “not about assessing the morality of expressing prejudicial opinions all right-minded people might recoil from”.

Colin Aylott said: “Are the hallmarks of membership truly present in what he did, and how he expressed himself?

“Ask yourself – casual racist of committed fanatic?

“Because that is the issue you have to decide in this case.”

Addressing the court on behalf of the defendant who cannot be named, barrister Christopher Knox claimed National Action “did not exist” as an organisation after it was banned.

Mr Knox said of the 23-year-old: “We will submit to you that he is no terrorist.

“He was involved with National Action and he held views which he well understands you might find really distasteful, but those are views he was, and is, entitled to hold.”

The court heard that the male had made attempts to join the Army.
Birmingham Mail