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A far-right extremist who was engulfed in a ball of flames when he set fire to an historic synagogue on a day commemorating the Holocaust has been locked up in hospital indefinitely.

Hospital X-Ray technician and self-styled folk singer Tristan Morgan, 52, was spotted walking away carrying a petrol can and laughing as smoke spewed from the 18th Century synagogue in Exeter on July 21 last year.

Afterwards, CCTV was recovered showing Morgan being burned as he set light to the synagogue through a smashed window.

The defendant, from Exeter in Devon, admitted arson with intent to endanger life, encouraging terrorism by publishing a song entitled “White Man” to live-streaming website Soundcloud, and having a copy of the White Resistance Manual.

The court heard he was psychotic at the time of the arson attack but had no previous history of violence.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC handed Morgan a hospital order without limit of time, saying most people would feel “anger and revulsion” for what he did.

Tristan Morgan, 52, was engulfed in a ball of flames when he set fire to an historic synagogue. Credit: PA/Devon and Cornwall Police

Outlining the facts, prosecutor Alistair Richardson said Morgan has “deep-rooted anti-Semitic belief, embodied in a desire to do harm to the Jewish community and an obsession with abhorrent anti-Semitic material”.

Morgan made songs “exhorting others to violence” against the Jewish community and had an array of material which “revelled in the degenerate views of Nazi Germany and white supremacists”, Mr Richardson said.

On the evening of Saturday July 21 last year, he tried to burn down the synagogue “with no thought for any lives he might put at risk”, he said.

Mr Richardson told how Zoe Baker and her partner Samual O’Brien were walking through Exeter City Centre when they heard a “loud bang” and saw an “orange glow and smoke” coming from the grade two listed building.

Concerned that someone might be hurt, they stopped and Ms Baker saw the defendant walking from away carrying a green petrol can.

Mr Richardson said: “He appeared to be laughing, while trying to flatten his hair which she described as looking like it had been ‘whooshed up’.

Morgan appeared “cocky” as he drove off in a Mercedes Vito van, according to the eyewitness account.

Mr O’Brien and an employee of a nearby Mecca bingo tackled the blaze with fire extinguishers before the fire brigade arrived.

Firefighters found a “severe” fire in a room containing a gas boiler, which could have exploded.

Morgan’s van was identified on CCTV as well as footage of the defendant using a small axe to break a window of the synagogue.

The court was shown video of Morgan pouring liquid from his green petrol can through the window before he is engulfed in a ball of flames.

Police arrested him at his home in Alexander Terrace in Exeter.

As he opened the door to officers, the defendant, who smelt of petrol and burning, exclaimed: “That didn’t take long”.

He had burns to his hands, forehead and hair, the court heard.

In his pockets, he was carrying two lock knives and two lighters.

As he was put in a police van, Morgan said: “Please tell me that synagogue is burning to the ground, if not, it’s poor preparation.”

Later, as his burns were being treated in hospital, he told staff “it was like a bomb going off”.

The attack on the synagogue was described as “devastating” for the whole Jewish community.

The court heard the attack coincided with a Jewish feast day commemorating disasters, including the Holocaust.

The Exeter Synagogue, built in 1763, is the third oldest in Britain and remains a focal point for the Jewish community in the South West.

It underwent reconstruction in the 1990s and a £100,000 restoration project was completed in 2013.

The cost of repairing the fire damage was said to total more than £23,000.

The court heard how Morgan performed his song “White Man” under the alias of Arland Bran.

His song calling for “White Man” to “kill your enemy” was played 53 times, “liked” twice and shared once.

ITV News

Hearing at the Old Bailey reveals how Tristan Morgan, 52, broke into the rear of the 18th century shul by smashing a window and poured accelerant in

A homeless white nationalist in Devon has admitted setting fire to an historic Exeter synagogue in an arson attack in July last year.

At a hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday, Judge Anthony Leonard QC was told that prosecutors have accepted 52-year old Tristan Morgan’s guilty pleas to a series of charges, as he lifted reporting restrictions.

Morgan, of no fixed abode, admitted arson, encouraging terrorism by publishing a song called ‘White Man’ to a live-streaming website, and collecting information for terrorist purposes in relation to a book called ‘White Resistance Manual.’ He will be sentenced on 1 July.

He was arrested after breaking a window at the rear of the 18th century building – Britain’s third oldest synagogue – before pouring fuel inside and using a match to ignite it. He admitted to recklessly endangering life.

The Community Security Trust (CST) said it had worked closely with Exeter Synagogue and with Devon & Cornwall Police since it happened.

In a statement, the CST said it had been “an appalling attack by somebody who had engaged with far right extremism” which made it “a very disturbing incident”.

It added: “The damage to the synagogue would have been much worse had it not been for the quick thinking and actions of local residents, and we are grateful to the wider community for the support they offered to Exeter Synagogue in the days following this attack.”

Speaking to Jewish News, Brian Nathan, the security officer at the shul, said: “We had a phenomenal and heart-warming response from the Exeter authorities – civil, police, fire. From what could have been a disaster, a lot of good came out.”

The building was saved because two passing bingo workers noticed the flames and put the fire out using nearby fire extinguishers before alerting authorities. They both received awards for their heroism and quick thinking, and were invited to the synagogue’s reopening.

Speaking last year, Superintendent Matthew Lawler said there had been a “really good, positive response from both the public and faith groups in Exeter in support of the Jewish community”.

Jewish News

White supremacist Ethan Stables deemed ‘risk to the public’ after planning terror act

A white supremacist who planned to carry out a machete attack at a gay pride event has been detained indefinitely in hospital.

Ethan Stables, 20, was convicted in February of planning an act of terrorism after he boasted online of his planned attack on an LGBT event at a pub in Cumbria.

Armed police swooped on Stables as he walked towards the New Empire pub in Barrow, Cumbria, on 23 June in 2017. He was unarmed but police later found an axe and a machete at his home.

Officers had received a tip-off from a member of a far-right Facebook group where Stables posted a message saying he was “going to war” and that he planned to “slaughter every single one of the gay bastards”.

Stables, who has an autism spectrum disorder, was described by a judge as a “risk to the public” as he was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order at Leeds crown court on Wednesday.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, said although Stables had not carried out the attack he had caused “alarm and distress” with the plans he had made.

The judge added: “It’s my clear decision that, for the protection of the public, a hospital order and restriction order are necessary.”

During Stables’ trial jurors were shown police bodycam footage of officers searching the defendant’s bedroom, where they discovered an arsenal of knifes, an air rifle and a machete, and a large Nazi flag pinned to the wall. A government explosives expert told the court that material found in the flat could have been used to make a credible bomb.

He denied he was doing a “recce” of the pub he planned to attack when he was arrested and said he was on his way to sit outside the jobcentre to use its free public wifi.

After he was arrested, police found Stables had made internet searches for “how to make chemical poison”, “what is prison like for a murderer”, “I want to go on a killing spree” and “do you get haircuts in prison”.

The jury was shown a video of him burning a rainbow flag while saying: “Look at it, that rainbow, so much nicer when it’s on fire. It’s just like gay people. Much nicer when they’re on fire.”

Stables can also be heard talking about joining the DUP to “execute gay people” and the English Defence League, while another man can be heard discussing what food he is going to order in the background.

The court heard that Stables had swapped messages with fellow extremists, blaming the fact that he was jobless on “faggots, niggers, spastics” and the Equalities Act.

He expressed a hatred of Muslims and Jews, and claimed in a WhatsApp message a month before his arrest: “My country is being raped … I might just become a skinhead and kill people.”

In a conversation on Facebook to which police were alerted, Stables said: “There’s a pride night. I’m going to walk in with a machete and slaughter every single one of them.” He added: “I don’t care if I die. I’m fighting for what I believe in and that is the future of my country, my folk and my race.”

During the trial, Stables’ barrister described him as “lonely and inadequate”, arguing that he was a “white fantasist” and not a white supremacist.

Stables claimed he had made racist and homophobic comments only to fit in with the people to whom he was speaking online. He told his trial that he was politically liberal and a bisexual, having had sexual experiences with men.

Giving evidence, Stables’ mother Elaine Asbury said her son had been radicalised when he went to visit his girlfriend in Germany. She said she had received little support from mental health services in looking after her son and had thrown him out of her home when he was 17 because he threatened to decapitate her and burn the house down.

The Guardian

Ethan Stables, 20, was arrested by armed police in Barrow, Cumbria after he bragged of planning to “slaughter every single one of the gay b******s”

 Stables had taken videos of him trying to light a Rainbow flag, associated with gay pride, on fire (Image: GMP)

Stables had taken videos of him trying to light a Rainbow flag, associated with gay pride, on fire (Image: GMP)

A homophobic neo-Nazi terrorist has been detained indefinitely in a psychiatric hospital after plotting an axe and machete attack on a pub’s gay pride night.

Armed police swooped on 20-year-old Ethan Stables as he walked towards the New Empire in his hometown of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, last summer.

Officers had received a tip-off after white supremacist Stables posted a Facebook message saying he was “going to war” and that he planned to “slaughter every single one of the gay b******s”.

He also filmed a video of himself setting fire to a gay pride flag, and posing next to a swastika.

Although he was unarmed when he was arrested on June 23, police found an axe, a machete and knives at his home, his trial heard.

The right-wing extremist had a swastika hanging on his bedroom wall and bought a new Nazi armband after his was taken by police when he was arrested.

Stables, who told a court he was bisexual, had Googled “how to make chemical poison”, “what is prison like for a murderer”, “I want to go on a killing spree” and, bizarrely, “do you get haircuts in prison”.

Officers discovered that, as well as researching firearms, he had also looked into methods for making a bomb.

Stables was found guilty in February at Leeds Crown Court of preparing an act of terrorism and making threats to kill.

Jurors heard he communicated his hatred for Muslims and Jews, with one WhatsApp message reading: “My country is being raped.

“I might just become a skinhead and kill people.”

He had admitted a number of other offences before the start of his trial.

The jury was shown a video of him burning a rainbow flag and posing next to a swastika hanging on his bedroom wall.

He had espoused homophobic, racist and Nazi views online, the court was told.

Giving evidence, Stables, who has been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome, claimed he was a just fantasist and was himself bisexual.

 There was also a selection of weapons Stables may have used in the planned massacre (Image: SWNS.com)

There was also a selection of weapons Stables may have used in the planned massacre (Image: SWNS.com)

Following his conviction, his barrister Patrick Upward QC told the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, that Stables led a “melancholy life” up to the day of his arrest and lived in “almost squalid conditions”.

Mr Upward said: “He bears no comparison with the men who attacked Corporal (Lee) Rigby, no comparison with the men who went on the rampage at Borough Market and no comparison with the man who ran people over on Westminster Bridge and stabbed a police officer.

“Whatever he was doing that night, he did not have a fuse to set it off. He did not have the wherewithal to make the fuse.”

Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford told the judge that Stables had intended to attack multiple persons and had looked at a number of ways of doing it.

Stables told the court he is bisexual and has an autism spectrum condition.

He denied he was doing a “recce” of the venue when he was arrested and said he was heading out to sit outside the jobcentre to use the free public WiFi.

Daily Mirror