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Steven Bishop, 41, had become fixated on the youngest victim of Manchester Arena attack

A violent racist with a history of mental health problems who admitted a terrorist offence and stockpiling equipment to bomb a mosque has been jailed for four years, one of the lowest sentences for someone plotting a potentially deadly attack.

Steven Bishop, 41, amassed commercial grade fireworks and other equipment as he formed the intention to build a homemade firebomb he would remotely detonate to attack the Morden mosque, in south London. He may serve just over another year in prison before his release on licence.

He claimed his plot was “revenge” for the Manchester arena bombing in 2017 in which 22 people died, but was stopped in October 2018 after a counsellor he saw for addictions reported Bishop to police after he told her of his plans.

Bishop had pleaded guilty earlier this week at Kingston crown court to two offences, one under the Explosive Substances Act 1883 and the other, having material useful for terrorism.

Concerns have been raised about the length of sentence, as British authorities try to show they take extremist rightwing violence as seriously as Islamist attacks.

Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, told the Guardian: “It is one of the lowest sentences for this kind of offence.

“I would expect the prosecution would consider appealing this sentence on the grounds that it is unduly lenient. I would be surprised if that was not the view of the Crown Prosecution Service.”

A spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain said: “There will be deep concern amongst many that this man was given a relatively light sentence even though he was poised to murder people.

“We learned from the case that Mr Bishop was driven by a hatred of Muslims. We hope we will be able to learn how the punishment fits this particularly serious crime.”

The Guardian understands the length of sentence also caused surprise among counter-terrorism investigators.

When detectives from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command searched Bishop’s room in October 2018 they discovered fireworks as well as fuses, a remote control and igniter. He had also ordered a firing device.

He had placed virtual private network (VPN) apps on his phone to hide his online activity, which included researching explosive detonators and the target which was the Morden mosque.

Bishop, who had significant mental health problems, had stashed parts for making improvised incendiary devices at his mother’s home, hidden in a suitcase in the garden shed.

Bishop made notes detailing recipes and methods to make explosive substances.

The sentence was passed by Judge Lodder QC, who is experienced in similar cases.

In 2015 the same judge sentenced Trevor Mulindwa, an Islamist terrorist with mental health problems to six years for wanting to flee abroad. Mulwindwa, who had been treated in a mental health unit, had talked of being a suicide bomber, but had not bought bomb parts.

Sentencing Bishop, Lodder said: “The detonation of one or more of these fireworks at Morden mosque may have risked the lives of those nearby.”
“It is submitted that you are so far out of your depth that it is absurd and that the mosque was never truly in danger. In that context you are contrasted with a determined and dedicated terrorist. But terrorist acts are not limited to those who do not have similar vulnerabilities to you.”

He added: “The seriousness of the offending is reduced by your medical history, but I do not find that your condition at the time of offending was substantially reduced by mental disorder or learning disability.”

Prosecutor Dan Pawson-Pounds told the court: “Much as he never formed the final intent actually to carry out the act against the mosque at any particular point, he accepts that he carried out acts preparatory to it, and in contemplation of it.”

Bishop has had lifelong psychiatric disorders including paranoid schizophrenia, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, a possible learning difficulty and also has experience of drug abuse. His 18 previous convictions include racially aggravated common assault.

Bishop’s barrister, Timothy Forte, denied his client’s action were fuelled by extremist rightwing beliefs. His web browsing history showed him viewing a pro-Brexit site and one instance of far-right material. Forte said he was moved by a victim of the Manchester attack, Saffie Roussos, aged 8: “It is only ever about Saffie. There is no expression of anti-Islamic feeling.”

“He’s not seeking to obtain a white Britain or a Muslim-free country. He was seeking in his non-functioning manner to exact revenge for the death of an eight-year-old girl and the crown can’t demonstrate an ideological cause.”

Bishop received benefits of around £1,200 a week and used the money to buy and consume drugs.

Bishop pleaded guilty to possession of an explosive substance with intent, in breach of the Explosives Act. The charge he admitted said that Bishop had by “29 October 2018, unlawfully and maliciously made or had in his possession or under his control an explosive substance with intent by means thereof to endanger life, or cause serious injury to property”. He received four years imprisonment for that charge, and an additional one year on licence because the offence was connected to terrorism.

Bishop also admitted an offence under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He accepted he had “made a record of information of a kind likely to be of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”. He received two years for that count, to run at the same time as the explosives offence.

The Guardian

An investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command has led to the conviction of a man who was gathering together fireworks and other components to make an improvised incendiary device he was planning to use to target a mosque in south London.

Steven Bishop, 41 (28.11.77) of south London pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on 8 April to possession of an explosive substance with intent, contrary to section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

He previously pleaded guilty to collection or making a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2000. He is due to be sentenced on 10 April.

Bishop was arrested by Counter Terrorism detectives on Monday, 29 October 2018, at his address in south London. Officers attended the address after police were contacted by one of Bishop’s key workers when he showed her images of items he was collecting for the purpose, he said, to build ‘a bomb’, and told her that he was intending to target a mosque.

Commander Clarke Jarrett head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said: “From our investigation it was clear Bishop stockpiled a quantity of fireworks and other component parts with the intention of creating a device that he was intending to use to target a mosque. Thanks to the diligence of his key worker in alerting us we were able to intervene before he could progress with his plans any further and crucially, nobody came to any harm.

“This example shows that information we get from the public really can help to protect the public and save lives. If you have any information about suspicious or terrorist activity, then please ACT and call police on 0800 728 321.

“Given Bishop was focussed upon a mosque, and in light of recent events in New Zealand, we also know that Muslim and other faith communities may be feeling particularly concerned and vulnerable. Specialist officers continue to provide support and protective security advice to mosques, and indeed all places of worship across the UK on how to best keep their buildings and visitors safe.”

After the concerns over Bishop were raised to police, officers initially attended his address and Bishop claimed he was just planning to let fireworks off at his mother’s address in south-west London. However, further enquiries were carried out and on 29 October 2018 Bishop was arrested at his mother’s home address. When detectives searched his address, they found several fireworks – some of which had been tampered with, as well as other equipment associated with making homemade incendiary devices, including fuses and remote control and ignitor. A firing device was also delivered to Bishop’s address two days after his arrest.

Officers identified that Bishop had bought a smartphone on 18 October 2018. The first searches made on the phone were for instructions on how to access the ‘dark web’ and he carried out research on how to conduct covert internet searches.

Further analysis of his device showed Bishop visited sites and viewed videos about the Manchester, London Bridge and Paris terrorist attacks. Detectives found a comment Bishop had posted on 24 October 2018 in relation to a video on Facebook about the victims of the Manchester Arena attack which ended with him saying: “don’t worry something bad is going to happen soon mark my words”.

Two ‘VPN’ apps were downloaded on to the phone – the apps are designed to hide which internet sites and online information the user has been accessing. However, when they opened one of the apps, officers found a page was still open, which showed Bishop had been researching further details on explosives detonators. Bishop had also carried out a number of online searches for Morden mosque.

Police searched Bishop’s mother’s address where they found wrapping that matched the fireworks at his home address. In the garden shed, detectives found a red suitcase inside which they found component parts which could be combined to create an improvised incendiary device.

Furthermore, detectives also found a number of hand-written notes by Bishop with detailed information on how to make various explosive substances, as well as information on how to access the dark web. The notes were deemed to be of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

After questioning and whilst further enquiries were being carried out, Bishop was charged a week after his arrest on 5 November 2018 and subsequently pleaded guilty to the offences above.

Following the guilty plea, Bishop was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on Wednesday, 10 April at Kingston Crown Court.

Met Police

Steven Bishop changed his plea as his trial had been due to start

Steven Bishop changed his plea as his trial had been due to start


A man has admitted planning a bomb attack on a south London mosque.

Steven Bishop, 41, admitted buying fireworks and possessing instructions on how to make an explosive.

Bishop, of Thornton Heath, was believed to have been targeting Morden Mosque when his home was raided by police on 29 October last year.

He will be sentenced on Wednesday after changing his plea on the opening day of his trial at Kingston Crown Court.

He had originally been charged with preparing an act of terrorism, but prosecutors accepted a plea to a charge of possession of an explosive substance with intent to endanger life or property on Monday.

Bishop previously pleaded guilty to possession of information likely to be useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism, specifically a handwritten note on how to make explosives.

When he was arrested he told the police he wanted revenge for the death of eight-year-old Saffie Roussos who died in the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.

The court heard Bishop has a history of mental health problems and a number of psychiatric reports had been prepared ahead of his trial.

He was remanded in custody until Wednesday,

BBC News

Matthew Glynn had an "obsession" with explosives and weapons, police said

Matthew Glynn had an “obsession” with explosives and weapons, police said

A bomb-maker who had a dartboard featuring images of Barack Obama, the Duchess of Cambridge and the popstar Cheryl has been jailed for five years.

Matthew Glynn had an arsenal of weapons including Samurai swords, axes and knives at his home in Horfield, Bristol.

He kept a viable improvised explosive device (IED) underneath his bed.

Glynn, 37, previously pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to five charges of making an explosive substance.

The court heard more than 6kg (13.2lb) of explosive powders, as well as other chemicals used for bomb making, were stashed in his property.

Glynn also bought a Wolverine-style weapon with four sharp blades, described as “horrific” by police.

A multi-bladed arm knife was found at Glynn's home by police

A multi-bladed arm knife was found at Glynn’s home by police

Sentencing him, Judge Peter Blair QC said: “There were large quantities of explosives which would have endangered life if they had have gone off.

“Police discovered a dartboard that you’d described to a work colleague as a board of people you hate.”

The judge said Glynn “had an interest in groups demonstrating anti Islamic sentiment” but material he posted on social media showed “more of a confused mind than a careful planning mind”.

Controlled explosions were carried out on the devices during a four-day evacuation of the area around his home in July.

Work colleague James Grogan tipped off police after seeing knives at Glynn's home

Work colleague James Grogan tipped off police after seeing knives at Glynn’s home

Glynn’s work colleague tipped the police off after he visited his house and saw swords and weapons.

James Grogan, who worked with Glynn at kitchen joinery Howdens, said the warehouse worker had joked when he sat on his bed that he was “sitting on a bomb” and had demonstrated racist and homophobic views.

Following the sentencing, Det Insp Dave Lewis said police were still not clear why Glynn had so many weapons and what he intended to do with them.

“That he had amassed this arsenal of weapons with such extensive dangers is very worrying,” he said.

Police said Glynn had never indicated why he was stockpiling explosives like this homemade bomb

Police said Glynn had never indicated why he was stockpiling explosives like this homemade bomb

BBC News

Stephen Bracher had been working on 17 other devices, police said

Stephen Bracher had been working on 17 other devices, police said

A man found with a 9kg (20lb) fertiliser bomb under his bed has been jailed for 40 months.

Unemployed amphetamine addict Stephen Bracher, 55, had been working on 17 other devices when he was arrested in January, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Bracher admitted three counts of having explosive substances, one of possessing a lock knife and one of possessing amphetamines.

Police found jottings which indicated extreme hatred of black and gay people.

In some he expressed intentions of killing people, the court heard.

Bracher's house was "full of weaponry" including machetes and knives

Bracher’s house was “full of weaponry” including machetes and knives

Royal Navy explosives experts removed the explosives from his home in Bishops Tawton, near Barnstaple, after the raid on 24 January.

The property was also “full of weaponry” including machetes and knives, police said.

The ammonia sulphate fertiliser bomb, when exploded under controlled conditions, left a large hole in the ground.

Police said fertiliser bomb and the other devices could have caused “extensive damage”.

Det Insp Phil Gray said: “He had disassociated himself from society.

“He enjoyed making his own explosives to see how loudly he could get them to go bang.”

Bracher told police the explosives were fireworks.

Neighbours and friends of Bracher spoke of an unemployed loner who spent hours with a metal detector by the nearby River Taw.

There he would search for finds which he would take to Barnstaple Museum.

He had a “genuine” interest in local history and was not in it for money, said one museum worker.

Bracher was the eldest of three children and lived in the area all his life, said friend Mike Davis, who has known him since they were teenagers.

Last year Bracher’s builder brother Alan died, which had affected him “severely”, said Mr Davis.

Mr Davis said: “He was a very reasonable person, no trouble maker.

“He didn’t want to do damage to anyone – he’s not a terrorist kind of person, he wouldn’t harm anyone.”

The almshouses where Bracher lived are reserved for people aged over 45 with local connections.

Neighbour Glyn Seal said it was a “big surprise” when the almshouses, with their manicured lawns and clipped hedges, were raided and Bracher was arrested.

“It’s a quiet community and the people in the almshouses are very quiet,” he said. “You never hear anything from them.”

BBC News

The self-proclaimed neo-Nazi Brandon Russell, 22, arrested at the Key Largo Burger King last May after bomb-making materials were found in his car, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew last week to five years in a low-security federal prison followed by three years of supervised probation.

At the time of Russell’s arrest, he was found to be carrying fuses, an M&P 15 Sport 2 semi-automatic assault-style rifle, a Savage Arms Axis .223 caliber hunting rifle with a scope and 500 rounds of ammunition.

Directly following the incident, Russell pleaded not-guilty but then changed his plea to guilty in September on federal charges of possessing bomb-making materials, and for improperly storing such materials. The two charges carry a maximum sentence of 11 years.

Russell’s lawyer, Ian Goldstein, asked the court for leniency in sentencing citing his client’s clean record and immaturity as reasons.

In a memorandum, he wrote, “As a 22 year old former college student and member of the armed forces, the defendant has seen the future he once hoped for evaporate before his eyes. He has learned more in this past year than in his prior 21 years combined, and has demonstrated both remorse and a desire to change.”

He said that this would be Russell’s first and only criminal conviction.

Russell was arrested about 48 hours after he discovered the bodies of his two roommates, Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, upon returning home from duty with the Army’s National Guard.

The fourth roommate, Devon Arthurs, 18, confessed to killing the two men for a making fun of his recent turn to Islam.

While officers were searching the shared apartment, bomb technicians recognized a “white cake-like” material in a cooler as hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, or HMTD, in the attached garage. Russell admitted the material was his, prosecutors say.

Police found radioactive materials belonging to Russell, as well as white supremacy propaganda and a framed photo of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City federal building bomber.

They found enough explosive materials for the FBI to file the criminal complaint against Russell. Russell said the material was used to launch model rockets which he did as an engineering student.

Russell told the police at the murder scene he was going to visit his father, but instead, picked up a fellow neo-Nazi, who has been identified as William James Tschantre, of Bradenton, and headed toward the Keys. The two stopped to purchase the guns along the way.

It’s unclear what Russell’s intentions were in the Keys.

Arthurs, however, incriminated Russell by saying he planned to target Turkey Point, the nuclear plant near the entrance to the Keys — a seemingly appropriate target for atomwaffen, the neo-Nazi group Russell created and whose name means “atomic weapon” in German.

Goldstein dismissed the Turkey Point matter as “a red herring, a fabrication created by Devon Arthurs in order to justify his own criminal behavior.”

Tschantre told police that he and Russell had no specific destination in mind and had no plans to hurt anyone or do any harm.

Keys News

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – A neo-Nazi group leader who stockpiled explosive material in the Florida apartment where a friend killed two roommates has been sentenced to five years in federal prison.

The sentence, handed down Tuesday in a Tampa federal court against 22-year-old Brandon Russell, was less than the 11 years sought by prosecutors.

The judge said it was a difficult case because she was concerned that Russell was capable of making bombs but was also worried that he might become involved with other neo-Nazis while in prison.

Devon Arthurs, Russell’s friend, awaits trial in state court on charges of murdering their two roommates, Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman.

Russell wasn’t charged in the May 2017 killings, which exposed the four roommates’ membership in Atomwaffen Division, an obscure neo-Nazi group that formed on the internet.

WTSP

Ryan McGee, 20, of Mellor Street, Eccles, was sentenced at the Old Bailey after admitting making explosives and possessing terrorist literature

Ryan McGee made this home-made bomb filled with shrapnel

Ryan McGee made this home-made bomb filled with shrapnel

A ‘self-radicalised’ soldier who became an EDL fanatic while constructing a potentially lethal nail bomb in his bedroom has been jailed for two years.

Ryan McGee, 20, constructed a homemade bomb packed with 181 metal screws, bits of glass and explosives inside a pickle jar which could have killed or maimed if detonated.

The device sparked a bomb scare after police discovered it while searching his home on Mellor Street, Eccles, as part of an unconnected investigation in November last year.

Experts say the powerful bomb was just a ‘simple step’ from completion.

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Officers also discovered an arsenal of guns and knives and extremist right-wing material in the first-floor bedroom, which was draped in English Defence League flags.

Crucially, bomb-making manual The Anarchist Cookbook was also found.

McGee admitted that between May 31 2013 and November 29 2013 at Salford he possessed a document containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

He has also pleaded guilty to a second charge that between September 1 2013 and September 3 2013 at Salford he made an explosive device.

Jailing him, Recorder of London Brian Barker said: “The fact of the matter is any explosive device in the wrong hands could cause untold misery to anyone on the receiving end.

“Sadly, we live in a violent age. Let’s be quite clear that any experimentation by anybody with these kinds of weapons must lead to severe sentences.

“What you have lost is your reputation and your future but I hope in due course you can make amends for that.”

Police originally raided the property as they suspected brother Steven, 20, of possessing child abuse images.

But following the discovery, Ryan – who was was serving in Paderborn, Germany, with 5th Battalion the Rifles – was detained at his barracks and returned to Britain.

Private McGee, a former Salford City Academy pupil, told officers he was ‘just experimenting’ with the ingredients but was charged and later admitted making explosives and possession of a document for terrorist purposes.

He joined the army in 2012 and had shown an interest in far-right parties such as the British National Party and the EDL since his early teens.

Disgusting racist rants posted on social media and kept in a handwritten diary revealed his hatred of immigration and admiration for Adolf Hitler and other far-right leaders.

In March 2013 he attended an EDL rally in Manchester city centre and regularly uploaded pictures of himself wearing or posing with EDL clothing and flags.

His computer also contained footage of a neo-Nazi beheading in eastern Europe.

The court heard McGee kept a journal entitled Ryan’s Story Book with stickers of Scooby Doo and birds on the front filled with drawings of guns, machetes, knuckledusters and knives and images of several paramilitary soldiers.

It also contained references to right-wing groups such as the National Front, KKK and BNP, the court heard.

He downloaded a number of extreme videos and his laptop had links to websites including gore videos, French Skinheads, Russian Racism, Handguns for sale UK and Germany, and YouTube videos of EDL marches against Muslims and Nazi youth.

The prosecutor accepted he was not a terrorist and that he didn’t intend to help a terrorist group.

Defending, Antony Chinn QC said McGee had been an immature teenager at the time, as demonstrated by the Scooby Doo notebook.

He said: “Although he accepts he made the device he never intended to put it to any violent purpose.”

McGee, a fifth generation Army man, was “a bit of a loner” who was brought up with far-right views, he said.

The bomb has been branded ‘viable’ by anti-terror officers and only needed to be hooked up to an electric current to become useable.

He had conducted internet searches on how to make detonators as well as experimenting with improvised booby traps.

Detectives did not find evidence McGee was planning a specific attack or had identified a target.

He remains a member of the armed forces but that is expected to be reviewed after his sentencing at the Old Bailey.

Detective Superintendent Simon Barraclough, from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit described McGee as a ‘self-radicalised’ individual who developed an unhealthy infatuation with explosives.

He aid: “He was obsessed with guns and explosives and this had drawn him into the military.

“He was a self-radicalised individual who was in possession of some extremist right-wing material.

“What he had produced was a completely viable device. If it had been connected to a power source it would have been ready to go.

“By it’s very nature this device was extremely dangerous.

“It had the capability of causing very serious injury to people, which ultimately means that it had the capability to kill people.

“It’s very difficult to say how dangerous an item like that is. It clearly depends where it’s placed, the positioning of it and exactly how many people are around it.

“Human beings are very fragile things and this bomb had the potential to do a lot of damage.”

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Manchester Evening News