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James Healy given prison term for ‘frenzied and unprovoked attack’ outside London pub

A Chelsea football fan was jailed for two years and eight months for committing an aggravated assault on the Guardian columnist Owen Jones with a “karate kick to his lower back”, motivated by hostility to the writer’s leftwing and LGBT politics.

James Healy, 40, from Portsmouth, was sentenced at Snaresbrook crown court for “a frenzied and wholly unprovoked attack” last August that took place in the street late at night after Jones had been out celebrating his birthday.

Recorder Anne Studd, the presiding judge, said there were “very significant aggravating factors” as she handed down the sentence to Healy at the high end of the range available.

The judge described Healy as “a man holding extreme rightwing opinions who attacked a victim who did no more than hold opinions on which the defendant did not agree”.

Two other men, Liam Tracey, 35, from Camden, London, and Charlie Ambrose, 31, from Brighton, were also sentenced for their part in the assault.

Tracey and Ambrose received an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years. Both had pleaded guilty last December although the conclusion of the case was delayed for several months due to the coronavirus crisis.

The court heard how Jones was attacked from behind by Healy at 2am outside the Lexington pub in King’s Cross, north London, having recognised the journalist and commentator in the pub earlier in the evening.

Jones was knocked to the ground and injured after being struck, and was “spared further blows only by the actions of the friends who were with him”, Studd said as she read out her judgment. A general fight then broke out involving Healy and the other two defendants.

In a victim impact statement, Jones said that while the injuries he sustained healed rapidly, there had been a longer lasting psychological impact. Despite previously being on the receiving end of online abuse, it was the first time he had been subject to a physical attack.

Philip McGhee, prosecuting, said Jones believed it was “harder to ignore online threats now” and that “he no longer feels he can walk alone, and will take taxis even for short distances as on account of this attack he feels at risk”.

The three men were not detained in the immediate aftermath of the fight in the street, but the court heard that they were arrested after they were recognised from CCTV footage by officers familiar with Chelsea supporters known to police.

Healy had at least nine convictions relating to football hooliganism stretching back to 1998. A search of his property after his arrest revealed a collection of far-right hooligan memorabilia, loosely connected with the Chelsea Youth Firm.

McGhee, prosecuting, said Healy possessed “a greeting card, which bore Nazi far-right extremist terror symbols, including those associated with the far-right Combat 18 group, one of whose tenets is ‘kill all queers’”.

Also discovered was a Nazi SS flag bearing a “totenkopf” death’s head skull symbol plus “a number of pins of badges”, including a circular pin badge with the “lead the way” and “whatever it takes” motto of Combat 18 and a badge that said “Chelsea FC no asylum seekers”.

Healy had pleaded guilty to the charges of actual body harm and affray but a special fact-finding hearing in January ruled that the “wholly unprovoked assault” was aggravated because Jones had been targeted because of his pro-LGBT and leftwing political views. Healy was also sentenced for 10 months for affray, served concurrently.

The judge concluded Jones had been identified in the pub by Healy or one of his friends earlier in the evening and that they had identified him as a target for attack.

CCTV footage showed Healy appearing to motion to friends outside the pub that Jones was leaving – and that he then followed him to launch “a running kick” on Jones in the small hours.

After the sentencing, Jones said: “Prison isn’t a solution to far right extremism: it’s a political problem which can’t be magicked away by custodial sentences. But if any good comes of this case, it’s to focus attention on a far-right threat which poses a violent threat to minorities and the left, including to those who have suffered far more than me”.

A Guardian spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the police and courts have now dealt with those responsible for this terrible attack. Assaults on journalists or political activists have no place in a decent society.”

The Guardian

A convicted football hooligan from Portsmouth launched an unprovoked attack on Guardian columnist and left-wing activist Owen Jones because of his sexuality and political views, a judge has ruled.

James Healy, 40, of Laburnum Grove in Portsmouth

James Healy, 40, of Laburnum Grove in Portsmouth

James Healy, 40, of Laburnum Grove, North End, admitted assaulting Mr Jones outside a pub in August last year, but claimed he ‘had the hump’ because the victim had bumped into him and spilled his drink.

But the Chelsea FC fan – who has a string of convictions for football-related violence – denied being motivated by Mr Jones’s sexuality or political campaigning, claiming he didn’t even know who he was.

Assaults deemed to be hate crimes can attract significantly longer sentences from the courts.

Following his arrest, a search of Healy’s home found a number of items connected to far-right ideology including a collection of pin badges linked to white supremacist groups.

Following a two-day hearing to determine Healy’s motive, Recorder Judge Anne Studd QC ruled on Friday that the unprovoked attack could only be motivated by Mr Jones’s media profile as a left-wing polemicist.

She said Healy had ‘plenty of opportunity to remonstrate’ with Mr Jones in the pub if he had unwittingly spilled his drink, and made no attempt to do so.

Instead he followed him outside and kicked him to the floor from behind.

She said: ‘Mr Jones can be seen (on CCTV) to leave the premises followed by Mr Healy and his co-defendants who can be seen looking across – he doesn’t approach him to remonstrate with him about the spilled beer.

This was a deliberate and targeted attack on Mr Jones personally.’

She continued: ‘I don’t find that this was motivated by a drink spillage – this was a brutal, surprise assault with no warning what so ever. It was clearly targeted.

‘I am satisfied so that I am sure that (Healy) holds particular beliefs that are normally associated with the far right wing.’

She added: ‘I therefore propose to sentence Mr Healy on the basis that this was a wholly unprovoked attack on Mr Jones by reason of his widely published left-wing beliefs by a man who has demonstrable right-wing sympathies.’

Mr Jones suffered cuts and swelling to his back and head, and bruises all down his body in the incident outside the Lexington pub on the Pentonville Road in Islington, north London, on August 17.

Among the incriminating items found at Healy’s home was a photograph of him as a teenager allegedly performing a Nazi salute. Healy also had a football hooligan flag adorned with SS symbols.

One of the items bore the name of the Combat 18 neo-Nazi group, whose stated aims include ‘execute all queers’, the court heard.

A birthday card featuring a St George’s flag, skull and crossbones and the words: ‘You have been nominated and dealt with by the Chelsea Headhunters’, in reference to the notorious hooligan firm, was also recovered.

Healy said the items dated back to his time in the violent Chelsea Youth Firm.

He claimed he had kept them because he is a hoarder, and that he did not know the memorabilia’s connection to the far-right and white supremacist movements.

Asked if he held homophobic or racist views, he replied: ‘No, it’s 2020.’

Healy said that, in the photograph in which he is allegedly performing a Nazi salute, his arm is held out to the right to show off his Chelsea Youth Firm tattoo.

‘I’ve looked up the Nazi salute online, I’ve never seen a picture where their arm is out to the side – it’s always out in front,’ he said.

In her ruling, Judge Studd accepted that it could not be proven Healy was performing a Nazi salute in the picture.

In his evidence, Mr Jones said: ‘I’m an unapologetic socialist, I’m an anti-racist, I’m an anti-fascist and I’ve consistently used my profile to advocate left-wing causes.’

Mr Jones has almost one million Twitter followers, 125,000 followers on Instagram and 350,000 followers on Facebook.

‘Almost every single day I am the subject of an unrelenting campaign (of abuse) by far-right sympathisers,’ he said.

He added: ‘In January last year, I was informed by an anti-fascist organisation I had become one of the main hate figures of online far-right extreme Facebook groups.’

The level of threat prompted the Guardian to hire security team for him.

Mr Jones denied spilling Healy’s drink, insisting: ‘That absolutely did not happen.

‘If I thought I had accidentally spilled someone’s drink, I would apologise profusely, I would say ‘I’m so sorry’ and I would insist – whether they liked it or not – on buying them another drink.’

The defendant pleaded guilty to affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at a previous hearing.

Healy’s co-defendants Charlie Ambrose, 30, from Brighton, and Liam Tracey, 34, from Camden, who have previously pleaded guilty to affray over the incident, are due to be sentence on February 11.

Ambrose and Tracey previously both denied a charge of ABH and the charge was left to lie on file, with prosecutors accepting their actions were not motivated by homophobia.

A date for Healy’s sentencing has yet to be set.

Portsmouth News

A ‘well-respected’ member of the NEC staff was starting a five-year jail sentence today after being caught in possession of a stun gun and CS gas spray.

Craig Totney, left, and some of the weapons police seized

Craig Totney, left, and some of the weapons police seized

Craig Totney was also a follower of Blood & Honour, a neo-Nazi music promotion network and political group founded in 1987.

It is banned in some countries but not the UK and is composed of white nationalists with links to Combat 18.

The group organizes white power concerts by Rock Against Communism bands and distributes a magazine of the same name.

Totney, aged 40, was stopped on arrival at Birmingham International Airport from Germany by officials who seized his phone for analysis on May 22 last year, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
Halesowen raid

This led to a raid on his home in Bournebrook Crescent, Halesowen, by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit on November 13, said Miss Sophie Murray, prosecuting.

The swoop recovered a CS gas spray and stun gun together with fireworks, a baton, stab vest, machete, three knuckledusters and a Samurai sword.

These were all capable of being used in violent incidents but there was no evidence that they had been, the court was told.

The CS spray and a Taser were found at Totney’s home, while the torch Taser was at Hollingsworth’s home

National Front stickers, a Nazi arm band and right wing magazines were also recovered.

There were pictures of Hitler and right wing memorabilia among the phone data that further revealed Totney had been communicating with 32-year-old Ruth Hollingsworth, a woman he knew socially but one who classed herself as a ‘leftie.’

Among the subjects discussed was his offer of a Taser disguised as a torch, allegedly acquired via the internet from Lithuania.

She said she would not mind having one for her personal protection although she realised it was illegal.

Ruth Hollingsworth was given a suspended prison sentence

Hollingsworth turned down the additional offer of a knuckleduster, it was said.

Police raided her home in Cecil Road, Selly Park, Birmingham, on the same day as Totney’s house was searched and found the weapon still in its box with enough power to issue several charges.

The prosecution accepted she had been persuaded to take it by her co-accused who had tested a Taser on himself, the court heard.

Judge Nicholas Webb said Totney had been a highly regarded employee of the NEC but the evidence indicated he knew what he was doing with the weapons was illegal and a long sentence was required to deter others.

Totney, of previous good character, admitted possession of a CS gas spray and stun gun and transferring a stun gun to Hollingswood, who admitted possession of the weapon.

She received a two-year jail term suspended for two years with 150 hours unpaid work.

Express & Star

After members of the neo-Nazi group National Action are jailed we look back at the racist member of right wing groups who was convicted of terrorism in Grimsby

He claimed to be a peaceful right wing activist in Grimsby who wanted to stand up for Britain’s “indigenous” people.

But loner Nathan Worrell was the secret neo-Nazi in Cromwell Street, a twisted racist who was trying to build bombs in his kitchen, inspired by a notorious nail bombing killer.

Even 10-years later, the trial of Worrell remains one of the most dramatic and truly horrifying cases that has been heard at Grimsby Crown Court.

And following the jailing of a cell of neo-Nazis and white supremacists last week for terrorism offences – including a couple who named their son Adolf – the similarities to the Worrell case are stark.

Both cases shone a light into the lives of right wing extremists and why anti-terrorism investigators now believe they hold as much of a threat as Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS.

At first, Worrell’s activities appeared to be limited to a vile campaign targeting a mixed race couple in the Willows Estate.

Officers were alerted after Worrell plastered stickers outside the home of a mother-of-one – branding her a “race-mixing slut”.

Flat full of Nazi literature

He focused his hate campaign on her and her husband, who was Bangladeshi born, and put stickers on the couple’s rear gate and on a lamp post near their home, reading: “Only inferior white women date outside their race. Be proud of your heritage. Don’t be a race-mixing slut.”

But, when police visited his flat in Cromwell Street, a much more worrying picture emerged that was to lead to a full blown terrorism investigation.

At first Worrell refused to let officers into his home but they forced their way in.

Inside, they discovered stacks of racist and neo-Nazi material, including five different types of sticker which had appeared outside the couple’s home in the Willows Estate.

Nathan Worrell was a member of a number of right-wing neo-Nazi groups and had expressed support for Soho killer David Copeland in items seized from his flat in Cromwell Road

Nathan Worrell was a member of a number of right-wing neo-Nazi groups and had expressed support for Soho killer David Copeland in items seized from his flat in Cromwell Road

But it was only then that the true horrific nature of what Worrell was doing became apparent.

There were numerous bomb-making manuals and the raw ingredients to make explosive devices. These included instructions on how to make detonators and what ingredients were needed for bombs.

He had bought fireworks and dozens of boxes of matches. What appeared to be an amateur attempt to make explosives actually used similar methods as neo-Nazi David Copeland, a right wing extremist who killed three people, including a pregnant woman, in a series of nail bomb attacks in London in 1999.

In fact among hundreds of Nazi pamphlets, leaflets, stickers and books was one with a chilling reference to the Soho killer. ‘Stand by Dave Copeland’, it said. ‘Leaderless resistance works. Combat 18 in the area!’

Shortly before Worrell’s arrest, the High Court in London ruled that Copeland should remain in prison for at least 50 years, ruling out his release until 2049 at the earliest, when he would be 73.

Worrell’s hoard of far-right material also included references to Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. Extremist groups represented included Combat 18, with the 18 derived from Adolf Hitler’s initials. Other leaflets and flyers mentioned ‘Cleethorpes Combat 18’.

It was later discovered Worrell had also been a member of right-wing groups, the White Nationalist Party, the British People’s Party, the National Front, the Ku Klux Klan and the British National Party. Like Copeland, a fascination with Nazi and right wing ideology had progressed to actively becoming involved with the groups and then researching home made explosive devices and detonators.

Experts told the trial Worrell’s experiments included dismantling the fireworks in a way which could be used to build explosive devices and police suspected he had been starting to assemble a crude pipe bomb in a coffee jar when he was caught.

During the trial, Worrell denied possessing articles for terrorism purposes, including documents for making explosives and incendiary devices, 171 match heads, a large quantity of matches, several tubs of sodium chlorate, fireworks containing black powder, and containers of lighter fluid.

He also denied a racially aggravated public order offence by displaying racist stickers with intent to cause the mixed-race couple harassment, alarm or distress.

The court heard that he held “far-right political views”. When interviewed by police, he described himself as a white nationalist. He said he believed that this country belonged exclusively to white people – and that he was fighting for this country in a peaceful manner.

References to nail bomber David Copeland were found in Nathan Worrell's flat in Grimsby

References to nail bomber David Copeland were found in Nathan Worrell’s flat in Grimsby

But the prosecution claimed: “He was not merely a peaceful right-wing activist. He had more sinister, violent intentions.

“The very nature of the sticker campaign shows this defendant was not merely a collector of extreme right-wing items, but was active in taking steps to promote his ideology.

“He was plainly targeting ethnic minorities as part of his extreme right-wing views,” the prosecution claimed.

Heil Hitler texts

He had far-right political pamphlets and books – much of it Nazi – in his flat and he signed off text messages with “88”, a code for Heil Hitler. “He is undoubtedly a racist who follows the political views of the National Socialist or Nazi Party,” said the prosecution.

There were books giving two recipes for ‘how to make explosives’ and information on how to buy ordinary products which could be used. He had a large number of fireworks, some of which had been tampered with in order to remove the gun powder.

Other books in Worrell’s bedroom covered subjects including murder, contract killers and hit men, arson as a means of attack, guerrilla warfare, leaderless resistance and more references to nail bomber Copeland.

Worrell sent racist text messages to a friend in reaction to watching two television programmes, Crimewatch, and a documentary featuring David Baddiel about compensation owed to the Jewish Community following the Second World War.

He also had a Death’s Head as the wallpaper on one of his three mobile phones. He told police he supported Combat 18 “in terms of some of their policies”, but did not believe in taking violent action. He denied ever specifically ordering material from Combat 18. Some stickers he had, but claimed not to have ordered, referred to a “Cleethorpes Combat 18”.

He admitted distributing stickers for far-right political groups, sticking them on lamp posts and junction boxes around Grimsby. When asked what he thought the effect of such stickers would be on any minority groups living in the area, he said: “I don’t know. I don’t associate with them.”

One text included an image of Adolf Hitler with a halo round him and another attacked the country’s immigration policies and called Britain a “cesspit for scum”.

Just a sad loner, claimed defence

The defence portrayed Worrell as a “slightly sad loner” who had long standing far-right wing beliefs but could not even drive or afford to go to rallies and meetings.

They claimed his activism was limited to “leafleting” and denied there was any bomb plot.

Grimsby Crown Court heard Nathan Worrell had been trying to assemble bombs using gunpowder from fireworks, pictured here, and chemicals in the same way as Soho nail bomber David Copeland

Grimsby Crown Court heard Nathan Worrell had been trying to assemble bombs using gunpowder from fireworks, pictured here, and chemicals in the same way as Soho nail bomber David Copeland

“He is not a terrorist,” claimed the defence, which branded the prosecution case “completely over the top” and accused it of throwing“ everything, including the kitchen sink” at the case.

Worrell did not give evidence at his trial and in January 2008 he was convicted by the jury in less than four hours.

He was jailed for seven years and three months. It included six years for the terrorist offence, with a consecutive 15 months for the racist public order offence.

Judge John Reddihough told Worrell: “Perhaps the least I say about the extreme views you hold and the way we saw you express them in the documents and other items before the court, the better.

“Maybe the citizens of this country are entitled to hold such views but what they are not entitled to do is embark on criminal offences in furtherance of those extreme views.”

He told Worrell: “You were in possession of a large number of instruction manuals for making explosive and other devices that could be used to harm innocent people.

“You were in possession of other items which appeared to advocate the use of violence to promote the extreme right-wing views you held.

“Courts in this country must make it clear that terrorism, in any form, will not be tolerated.

“Any offence which involves any step towards terrorist acts must be firmly punished.”

Right win extremist Nathan Worrell who was convicted of terrorism offences in Grimsby

Right win extremist Nathan Worrell who was convicted of terrorism offences in Grimsby

After the case, it emerged that Worrell was born in Cleethorpes and grew up in Grimsby with his mother and sister. The last school he attended was Havelock School, Grimsby, and he was believed to have worked for a warehouse in the town as a packer. He also had a job picking cabbages.

At the time of his arrest, he was unemployed and was not believed to have held any long-term employment since leaving school.

After the sentencing, the husband targeted by Worrell’s racist leaflets said: “It is not long enough. He will be out in three or four years. He will probably come out and still hold the same racist beliefs.”

Worrell appealed against his sentence which was rejected.

It is thought Worrell was released in 2011 and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

Grimsby Telegraph

A Neo Nazi who had been on the run for over ten years for an unprovoked racially aggravated attack is finally behind bars.

Alan Thompson was sentenced on December 18th at Southend Crown Court to 11 years imprisonment for grievous bodily harm and 4 1/2 years imprisonment for violent disorder, to run concurrently for his part in a violent attack on two teenagers that left one of them fighting for their life back in 2002.

Darren Bagalo and his friend Farman Khan who were 17 and 18 at the time had been on a night out with family and friends in Romford town centre. As they made their way home a gang of men armed with knuckle dusters and knives attacked them, punching, kicking and stabbing both in a sustained attack.

Moments before the attack the assailants were seen by passers-by and CCTV making Nazi salutes.

The two youths were rushed to hospital where they underwent immediate surgery for serious stab wounds. Darren Bagalo’s injuries, which included stab wounds to the abdomen and torso and kicks to the head, were initially life-threatening, while Farman Khan had been stabbed in the arm.

In 2003 Neil Tarrant, Philip Curson, Paul Knight, Gavin Hockley and Alan Lethbridge were all found guilty of violent disorder at Snaresbrook crown court. A sixth man Robert Bell, who had stabbed one of the youths in the shoulder, was found guilty of violent disorder and GBH. The 6 men were sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from 1 1/2 years to 7 1/2 years.

The court heard the police found stacks of magazines supporting the Ku Klux Klan and Combat 18 at Gavin Hockley’s home. They also found 150 leaflets with the words Keep Romford White, as well as a photo of Curson,Hockley and Tarrant posing in front of a Nazi flag holding a knuckle duster, cosh and baseball bat.

Hockley had a collage of 150, mostly fascist, photos. In one picture he had cut out Adolf Hitler’s face and replaced it with his own.

Thompson,the seventh and final member of the gang was once a BNP member and was very close to their first councillor Derek Beackon.He was also a founder member with Combat 18 and was a high profile member of their north London unit when it was first established in 1992.

Hope not Hate