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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