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After a five-year trial, a member of a neo-Nazi gang has been found guilty of 10 racially-motivated murders.

Beate Zschäpe was at the centre of one of the longest trials in modern German history

Beate Zschäpe was at the centre of one of the longest trials in modern German history

Beate Zschäpe was the main defendant on trial over the murder of eight ethnic Turks, a Greek citizen and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

The verdict carries an automatic life sentence.

The connection between the murders was only discovered by chance in 2011, after a botched robbery led to the neo-Nazi group’s discovery.

Zschäpe shared a flat in the eastern town of Zwickau with two men, who died in an apparent suicide pact. The bodies of Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt were found in a burnt-out caravan used in the robbery.

Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt had formed a cell called the National Socialist Underground (NSU). An explosion at their home – apparently in an attempt to destroy evidence – led to Zschäpe turning herself in.

The NSU’s seven-year campaign exposed serious shortcomings in the German state’s monitoring of neo-Nazis, and led to a public inquiry into how German police failed to discover the murder plot.

Four other defendants were also given jail terms for their role in helping the NSU gang:

Ralf Wohlleben, a former official of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), was sentenced to 10 years for procuring the Ceska pistol with silencer used in nine murders. He was convicted of aiding and abetting murder.

Carsten S was given three years of juvenile detention. He is believed to have been a key contact for the Zwickau cell during their secret life, and was found guilty of handing the gang the Ceska pistol and silencer

André E was given two years and six months for helping a terrorist group. He had visited the Zwickau trio often, sometimes with his children, helping to give the neo-Nazis an air of normality.

Holger G received three years for giving his birth certificate and other ID to Uwe Mundlos, to protect him from the police.
BBC News

Bret Atkins and Jamie Snow smirked as their jail sentences were increased for the race-hate campaign they orchestrated from inside a top security jail

Bret Atkins, 24, and Jamie Snow, 27, sent crude explosive devices from the segregation unit of Full Sutton prison, near York and sent them to law firms in Halifax and Nottingham Photo: PA

Bret Atkins, 24, and Jamie Snow, 27, sent crude explosive devices from the segregation unit of Full Sutton prison, near York and sent them to law firms in Halifax and Nottingham Photo: PA



A murderer and a robber who sent crude explosive devices from the segregation unit of a top security jail to Asian solicitors as part of a race-hate campaign have had their prison sentences increased.

Bret Atkins, 24, and Jamie Snow, 27, smirked and laughed as a judge at Leeds Crown Court was told how they constructed basic incendiary devices made from crushed match heads in their cells at Full Sutton prison, near York, and sent them to law firms in Halifax and Nottingham.

Despite Atkins and Snow appearing by videolink from different prisons – Whitemoor and Wakefield – the two managed to exchange smiles with each other as details of their racist messages were read to the court.

Atkins – who is serving a life term with a minimum term of 20 years for murdering a man in Hull in 2009 – grinned even though his barrister told the judge he had converted to Islam since arriving at Whitemoor.

Judge Rodney Jameson handed down a seven year prison sentence to Atkins, who was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of conspiracy to send an explosive substance with intent to burn.

The judge ordered this to start 18 months before the end of his current 20 year minimum term and said this would have the effect of increasing the minimum term of his life sentence to 22 years.

Snow, who is originally from Leeds, was serving an eight-and-a-half year sentence for robbery, attempted robbery and possessing a firearm with intent when he sent the letters.

He was given an extended sentence of six years and three months after admitting offences of sending an explosive substance with intent to burn and making threats to kill. The judge said the extended part of the sentence meant he will be on licence five years after he is released.

Atkins admitted murdering 35-year-old Simon Ash in Hull in 2009.

A judge at the time said he and another man had ”callously and cold-bloodedly” killed Mr Ash, who was walking alone.

They kicked him and stamped on his head so hard that an imprint of Atkins’s shoe was left on his face.

Devices were sent by the pair but, the court heard, they were intercepted before they reached their intended targets.

The judge was told that both men had a “shared racial hatred” of Asian people and had threatened to kill Asian prisoners, attack the imam at Full Sutton and burn down mosques.

As well as the incendiary devices, Snow sent threatening letters to solicitors – one including an illustration of how to make a bomb using a light bulb.

Jonathan Sandiford, prosecuting, said Snow wrote a letter to a probation officer referring to Asian people as “dirty disgusting vermin”.

Prison officers intercepted a letter sent to Rahman Ravelli solicitors in Halifax from Snow in November 2012 and found a device inside made from crushed match heads and a striking device attacked to the opening flap.

When confronted about it, Snow said “two out of three is not bad”, according to Mr Sandiford.

The prosecutor said he was “claiming he’d already sent another two”.

Mr Sandiford said Snow sent a threatening letter to another law firm, signing it “your neighbourhood Muslim-killer”.

He said prison officers heard Atkins bragging in phone calls that he and Snow were vying to kill the prison imam, saying: “Me and Snowy have got a deal – whoever gets to him first can have an ounce of amber leaf (tobacco).”

The court heard Atkins sent a letter to Carrington’s Solicitors, in Nottingham, containing another incendiary device but it was intercepted.

The message included the sign-off: “Ha, ha, ha, boom. I’ve got my eyes on you.”

Mr Sandiford said the pair also conducted a dirty protect in the segregation wing of Full Sutton when they daubed threats against Muslims on the walls of their cells in excrement.

But Philippa Eastwood, defending Atkins, said: “He had converted to Islam since he has been at HMP Whitemoor and has been a practising Muslim in the time since he had been there.”

Snow – through his barrister Richard Simons – tried to get the judge to increase his sentence to more than seven years so he could get access to a mental health course in prison to address his personality disorder and other potential psychiatric problems.

But Judge Jameson said he could not take this unusual course.

The judge told the pair it was unlikely the devices they made would have caused any more injury than burns to the hands of anyone who opened them.

But he said they “exercised considerable ingenuity in making these potentially dangerous devices out of the materials at your disposal”.

The judge said: “In both cases, you sent improvised incendiary devices by the mail, or submitted them to be sent by mail, to Asian solicitors in the north of England.

“No injury was caused by any device that you sent. It is difficult to know the extent of the distress that you caused.”

After the hearing, Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Wilson of the north east counter-terrorism unit said: “Bret Atkins and Jamie Snow waged a campaign of hate against innocent people, choosing victims purely on the grounds of their race or religion. They expressed deeply racist and anti-Muslim views and sent a series of threatening letters, designed to instil fear in their recipients.

“Snow and Atkins took their hatred beyond threats to kill and even tried to post explosive materials in an attempt to cause harm or injury. Thankfully this mail was intercepted by vigilant officers within the prison service and was never able to enter the postal system.

“Snow and Atkins may already be in prison, but they will still be held accountable. We will continue to work with the prison service to respond to racially-aggravated incidents and punish those who seek to threaten the safety and confidence of our communities.”

Marcella Goligher, governor of Full Sutton Prison, said: “We are committed to the prevention of crime and are proud of the work our vigilant and highly-skilled members of staff do to detect it.

“These convictions have been secured as a result of strong partnerships, and we will continue to work with the police and the CPS to ensure prisoners who break the law are prosecuted.”

Daily Telegraph

From Sept 2014

Dale Jones and Damien Hunt were found guilty of killing Mushin Ahmed

Dale Jones and Damien Hunt were found guilty of killing Mushin Ahmed

Two men convicted of killing an 81-year-old grandfather in a racially motivated attack have been jailed.

Mushin Ahmed died 11 days after he was attacked by Dale Jones and Damien Hunt, both 30, as he walked to prayers at a mosque in Rotherham in August.

Jones, of Norwood Street, Rotherham, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years. He was convicted of murder.

Hunt, of Doncaster Road, Rotherham, was jailed for 14 years for manslaughter.

During the trial at Sheffield Crown Court, jurors heard Jones attacked Mr Ahmed after accusing him of being a “groomer”.

Mushin Ahmed died in hospital 11 days after he was found injured in a Rotherham street on 10 August last year

Mushin Ahmed died in hospital 11 days after he was found injured in a Rotherham street on 10 August last year

Prosecutor Andrew Robertson QC said there was “no doubt” Jones abused Mr Ahmed “for no better reason than Mr Ahmed was Asian”.

During the attack Mr Ahmed was kicked so hard the imprint of a trainer was left on his face.

His false teeth were also broken during the attack, with Hunt’s DNA later being recovered from the shattered dentures.

The court heard Jones was in a “raging fury” fuelled by drink and drugs and, shortly before attacking Mr Ahmed, had racially abused an Asian taxi driver.

‘Sickening violence’

Det Ch Insp Victoria Short said the “brutal and unprovoked attack” had sent “shockwaves” through the local community.

She said: “This extreme violence is nothing short of sickening and highlights just how dangerous these individuals are.

“They have never given an explanation for their own vicious actions that evening, but the court heard how Mr Ahmed was assaulted because of the colour of his skin, a fact that is as disturbing as it is despicable.”

Proceedings against a third man, 21-year-old Kieran Rice, were discontinued in October. He was released without further action.

BBC News

From Feb 2016.

A source close to Phillip Simmons said the May Street murderer is ‘doing OK’ in HMP Full Sutton

Notorious Hull double murderer Phillip Simmons has “converted his religion and become a vegan” in a bid to start a new life.

A woman close to the May Street murderer said Simmons has also given up smoking and “does nothing but read books” as he serves a 36-year sentence in HMP Full Sutton for murder.

Simmons was jailed in February last year after he admitted killing his housemate Daniel Hatfield, 52, and Mr Hatfield’s friend, Matthew Higgins, 49, in his back yard at 7 May Street, west Hull, in April 2016.

Phillip Simmons was jailed for life for the murders of Matthew Higgins and Daniel Hatfield.

Phillip Simmons was jailed for life for the murders of Matthew Higgins and Daniel Hatfield.

Since his imprisonment, the woman said he had converted from Catholicism to “a form of Islam”.

“He seems to be doing OK in there,” she said.

“He has converted to a different religion and is trying to come to peace with himself for what he did.

“He has stopped smoking and just seems to read books these days.”

Simmons is currently being held in HMP Full Sutton near Pocklington.

The maximum security prison houses some of the country’s most dangerous and notorious criminals .

They include Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who murdered at least 12 young men between 1978 and 1983 in London, and English gangster Curtis Warren.

Speaking about Simmons, the woman said: “He has gone vegan as well, and is really trying to turn everything around.

“He seems to be doing OK though overall – he is not ready for visits yet he told me, but he calls a lot.

“I think it would be too difficult for him to see his family. He got 36 years for the murders, so he is in for a long one.”

Simmons admitted two charges of murder and one of robbery at Hull Crown Court in February 2017.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told Simmons at his sentencing last year: “The circumstances are intensely horrific and demonstrate you are an extremely dangerous and violent man.

“I am of the view that it is almost inevitable that you will never be released from prison. I cannot foresee a time when it will ever be safe to release you.”

The woman said the Hull murderer was trying to turn his life around, and had taken a number of measures in a bid to do so.

Hull Daily Mail

Osborne tells the court ‘God bless you all, thank you’ after beng sentenced to minimum term of 43 years

Darren Osborne was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, at Woolwich Crown Court

Darren Osborne was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, at Woolwich Crown Court


Darren Osborne has been jailed for life – with a minimum term of 43 years – for carrying out the Finsbury Park terror attack.

Justice Cheema-Grubb said she had not given Osborne a rare full-life term because he did not achieve his original aim to kill multiple victims at a pro-Palestinian march.

“This was a terror attack,” the judge said, adding that the Metropolitan Police’s security arrangements around the Al-Quds Day rally had “saved many lives”.

“You were rapidly radicalised…by material put on the internet by those determined to spread hatred of Muslims.”

Sentencing Osborne to two concurrent life sentences with a minimum term of 43 years, minus the 224 days already served in custody, she said his lengthy criminal record betrayed a “belligerent and violent character”.

Osborne showed no emotion while being sentenced, but as he was led away told the court: “God bless you all, thank you.”

A jury had found the 48-year-old guilty of murder and attempted murder at the end of a nine-day trial, dismissing what the judge called a “pathetic last-ditch attempt to deceive them” by claiming a man called Dave was behind the wheel.

Woolwich Crown Court had heard how Makram Ali, a 51-year-old grandfather, had collapsed just two minutes before the atrocity shortly after midnight on 19 June.

A crowd of Muslim worshippers, several of them wearing traditional clothing, gathered around him to help and became an unwitting target for Osborne as he looped around Finsbury Park in search of a mosque.

Woolwich Crown Court heard that Osborne has a criminal history spanning 30 years, which could not previously be disclosed because it could prejudice the jury.

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said he had appeared in court for 33 times for 102 offences dating back to when he was just 15 years old.

He has served multiple prison sentences for crimes including assault and has also been convicted of drug possession, burglary, theft, fraud, vehicle crime, public order offences

Mr Rees said Osborne had eight years where he was “relatively trouble free” around the birth of his first child, but was later convicted for shoplifting and theft in South Wales.

Lisa Wilding QC, Osborne’s barrister, had urged the judge not to use a whole-life term warranted by his motivations.

“Although this case has been properly characterised as an act of terror, it’s arguably not the most grave of its type,” she told the court.

Ms Wilding highlighted the fact that Osborne was a functioning alcoholic with a troubled past, saying the previous convictions had no racial element and he ”became radicalised in a short period of time“.

Mr Ali’s relatives were in court for the sentencing hearing, where his wife, six children and two grandchildren told how they were unable to fully grieve until the end of the gruelling trial.

His eldest daughter, Ruzina Akhtar, said she had been “struggling not to fall apart” since the attack.

In a statement, she described how the family faced an agonising wait for Mr Ali’s death to be confirmed.

“In our hearts we knew it was him involved and that he was gone,” Ms Akhtar said. “My heart was shattered when I saw my father’s body in the morgue.”

She told how the family live near the scene of the attack and are traumatised from passing it on a daily basis, while her mother fears leaving the house or sleeping alone.

“My mum is scared of going out by herself and being attacked because she is visibly a Muslim and wears a headscarf,” she added.

Ms Akhtar paid tribute to her father as a “family man”, saying he spent his final moments before leaving the house on the night of his death with his wife and children, who are as young as 13.

He was beloved by her five-year-old son, who “is always asking where his granddad is and why he can’t go to the park with him every day” like they used to.

Ms Akhtar said her father was the most “sincere and warm person” she knew, who lived his life without enemies, adding: “My father will never be forgotten, he will always stay in our hearts, his laughter will echo from the walls in our home and his smile will be reflected in our eyes.”

Statements from the survivors of the attack told how they suffer from physical injuries as well as nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia and other effects of trauma have had a terrible impact on their personal lives and work.

They described chased Osborne down after he crashed the van and stumbled out of the driver’s seat, telling how he smiled and said: “I’ve done my job, you can kill me now.”

A note found in the vehicle – scribbled down in a pub the night before – showed Osborne raging against Muslims, grooming gangs, Jeremy Corbyn, Sadiq Khan and Lily Allen.

He denied charges of murder and attempted murder but submitted no statement in his defence until Friday – after hearing five days of evidence proving his guilt.

Police believe Osborne was radicalised in under a month, sparking calls for internet companies and the security services to combat extremist material even if it does not violate terror laws.
The Independent

Darren Osborne was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, at Woolwich Crown Court

Darren Osborne was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, at Woolwich Crown Court

A man who drove a van into a crowd of Muslims near a north London mosque has been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 43 years behind bars.

Darren Osborne, 48, was found guilty of murdering Makram Ali, 51, after deliberately ploughing into a crowd of people in Finsbury Park in June.

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said Osborne, from Cardiff, had planned “a suicide mission” and expected to be shot dead.

“This was a terrorist attack – you intended to kill,” the judge told him.

Osborne, who had been found guilty of murder and attempted murder, said “God bless you all, thank you”, as he was led away from court.

‘Malevolent hatred’

The father-of-four mowed down worshippers in Finsbury Park shortly after 12.15am on 19 June last year, killing Mr Ali and injuring nine others.

The jury took an hour to return the verdict at Woolwich Crown Court on Thursday after a nine-day trial.

Justice Cheema-Grubb told Osborne the jury in his trial had seen though his “pathetic last-ditch attempt to deceive them”.

She said he was “rapidly radicalised over the internet by those determined to spread hatred of Muslims”.

“Your use of Twitter exposed you to racists and anti-Islamic ideology,” she added.

“In short, you allowed your mind to be poisoned by those who claimed to be leaders.”

Before sentencing, the court heard a statement from Razina Akhtar, the daughter of Mr Ali, who said she had suffered “recurring nightmares” since the death of her father.

“The incident was near to our house and I walk past it most days. It keeps me awake at night thinking about the attack.”

She said her mother, Mr Ali’s widow, was now scared to go outside by herself for fear of being attacked.

“My father was the most sincere and warmest person I know. He was full of jokes and laughter, and full of love for his family and grandchildren.

“His life was taken in a cruel way by a narrow-minded, heartless being,” the statement added.

Other witness suffered feelings of anxiety, flashbacks, fear of going out and loss of confidence, prosecutors said.

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb also heard a list of Osborne’s previous convictions – including a string of violent offences – spanning more than 30 years.

Osborne had appeared before the courts on 33 occasions for 102 offences, she was told.

The judge said Osborne’s previous convictions showed he was a “belligerent and violent character”.

She said Mr Ali died immediately after being struck by the van. He was found with tyre marks on his torso, she added.

‘Obsessed’ with Muslims

The trial heard the victims had been outside the Muslim Welfare House, in Finsbury Park, when the area had been busy with worshippers attending Ramadan prayers.

Mr Ali had collapsed at the roadside in the minutes before the attack.

Police later found a letter in the van written by Osborne, referring to Muslim people as “rapists” and “feral”.

He also wrote that Muslim men were “preying on our children”.

Osborne, the trial heard, had became “obsessed” with Muslims in the weeks leading up to the attack, having watched the BBC drama Three Girls, about the Rochdale grooming scandal.

BBC News

Darren Osborne, who drove van into Muslims outside mosque, convicted of terrorist attack that killed Makram Ali

A man has been convicted of murder and attempted murder after driving a van into a group of Muslims near a north London mosque in a terrorist attack.

A jury concluded that Darren Osborne intended to kill as many Muslims as possible and had been “brainwashed” after gorging on extremist rightwing propaganda online.

A jury of eight women and four men took one hour to convict the father of four. Osborne, who had denied both charges, nodded in the dock as the verdict was read out but showed little emotion. He will be sentenced on Friday.

Police believe one catalyst for his three-week spiral into terrorism was a BBC drama about a Muslim grooming gang.

The attack last June left Makram Ali, 51, dead with a tyre mark across his chest and 12 others injured after the van Osborne was driving struck people in Finsbury Park.

Osborne, 48, was convicted after a trial at Woolwich crown court in south-east London. The case was prosecuted as a terrorist offence because Osborne’s actions were taken in order to advance a political purpose, a factor that will be taken into account when the sentence is decided.

In a defence that the prosecutor, Jonathan Rees QC, described as “absurd”, he had claimed “a guy called Dave”, who was not visible on any CCTV footage, had been driving the van while he changed his trousers in the footwell.

The jury was told by the prosecution that the act was terrorism driven by Osborne’s hatred of Muslims, which his partner said had developed rapidly in the weeks before the attack, leaving him “a ticking timebomb”.

One witness heard the van “accelerate and the noise of changing gears” as the engine revved, its impact leaving a scene of horror with a limb trapped under a wheel.

Two minutes before the attack, Ali had become ill and fallen to the ground 100 yards from his home. It was just after 12.15am and Muslims were thronging the streets after prayers at two nearby mosques to mark the festival of Ramadan.

The attack came after three Islamist terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. A note recovered from the van Osborne had driven down from Wales, where he lived, railed against Muslims, the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

The jury heard that after the attack, Osborne was saved by an imam, who protected him despite his attempt to run down Muslims. Osborne was seen to smile and say: “I’ve done my bit.”

Opening the case, Rees said Osborne was heard by witnesses to say: “I’ve done my job. You can kill me now.” The prosecutor said a witness claimed the attacker was “constantly smiling”.

Rees said Osborne was seen hitting out at people as he tried to escape the throng and said: “I want to kill more Muslims.”

Osborne’s partner, Sarah Andrews, told detectives that in the weeks before the attack, his attitude had changed after he watched Three Girls, a BBC TV drama about the Rochdale grooming scandal.

Andrews said in a witness statement that Osborne had become “obsessed” with Muslims and was an avid follower of social media postings by the former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, as well as members of the far-right group Britain First.

The jury heard that the pair had watched Three Girls and, in a statement read to the court, Andrews said she believed Osborne had become angry “about seeing young girls exploited” and developed his fixation with Muslims from that point.

She said Osborne “seemed brainwashed” and had been watching content posted online by Robinson, leading him to seek out more extremist material.

Smartphones and computers showed Osborne had viewed material from Britain First, a group that “campaigns primarily against multiculturalism and what it sees as the Islamisisation of the UK”, Rees told the jury.

Osborne had not worked for a decade and had mental health problems. He tried to kill himself shortly before the attack.

Ali was a father of six children, four daughters and two sons, and had suffered from ill health.

The attack sent shockwaves through Muslim communities in Britain, and came as many noted increasing rhetorical attacks in the mainstream media and from politicians, alongside a rise in extreme rightwing violence. Counter-terrorism officials have also noted an increase in violent attacks.

Osborne was not known to police or MI5 for extremism before his lone-wolf attack.

His defence to the jury contradicted CCTV evidence and a statement his lawyers had submitted to the court on his behalf.

He told the jury that it was “sod’s law” that CCTV had not picked up the point along the route where his supposed co-conspirator Dave had got into the vehicle, adding that he had no idea where Dave had gone in the aftermath of the attack.

CCTV footage shows he was the only person to leave the van after the attack, and carried out reconnaissance by foot shortly beforehand, again on his own.

He wrote the note setting out his extremist views in a Cardiff pub, where CCTV footage and witnesses confirm he was on his own.

Following Osborne’s conviction Sue Hemming, from the CPS, said: “Darren Osborne planned and carried out this attack because of his hatred of Muslims.

“He later invented an unconvincing story to counter the overwhelming weight of evidence but the jury has convicted him. We have been clear throughout that this was a terrorist attack, and he must now face the consequences of his actions.”

The Guardian