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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

Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, left, and Michal Szewczuk were members of British neo-Nazi group Sonnenkrieg Division which was exposed by the BBC

Two teenage neo-Nazis, who encouraged an attack on Prince Harry for marrying a woman of mixed race, have been jailed for terrorism offences.

Michal Szewczuk, 19, from Leeds, and Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, 18, from west London, were part of a group called the Sonnenkrieg Division.

An Old Bailey judge said their online propaganda was abhorrent and criminal.

Dunn-Koczorowski was given an 18-month detention and training order. Szewczuk was jailed for just over four years.

The defendants, who appeared by video link from HMP Belmarsh, in south-east London, did not react.

The court heard the teenagers used pseudonyms to run personal accounts on the Gab social media site, as well as sharing control of the Sonnenkrieg Division’s own page, on which they posted self-designed propaganda that encouraged terrorist attacks.

Among other things, the imagery suggested the Duke of Sussex was a “race traitor” who should be shot, glorified the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, and said white women who date non-white men should be hung.

The material was “uniformly violent and threatening” and “the nature of the violence includes rape and execution”, judge Rebecca Poulet said.

Suggested targets included non-white and Jewish people, and the effect was to overtly encourage lone acts of violence against members of the public, the judge added.

She said the men had promoted both Sonnenkrieg and the American Atomwaffen Division, which were extreme right-wing groups inspired by a book called Siege written by the veteran American neo-Nazi James Mason in the 1980s.


‘Intent on action’

Their ideology is violently racist and anti-Semitic neo-Nazism and its tactics involve political violence through acting alone or small-cell terrorism, she added.

She condemned an “additional feature” of the ideology by referencing a blog run by Szewczuk that encouraged the rape of female adults and babies.

Sonnenkrieg’s activities were exposed last year by a BBC investigation.

Prosecutor Naomi Parsons, opening the case earlier in the hearing, told the court: “This isn’t a keyboard organisation. It is intent on action.”

She read from the group’s mission statement, which declared: “Will you rise up and take the chance or will you sit back and do nothing… Hail victory, and Heil Hitler!”

In April, Szewczuk admitted two counts of encouraging terrorism and five of possessing documents useful to a terrorist.

Dunn-Koczorowski pleaded guilty while still a youth in December to two counts of encouraging terrorism.

The court heard Sonnenkrieg was influenced by the US-based group Atomwaffen Division, which is linked to five murders, and Mason, whose writings “may well represent the most violent, revolutionary and potentially terroristic expression of right-wing extremism current today”.

Sonnenkrieg promoted the idea that people should completely “drop out” of society and engage in a “total attack” on the system, Ms Parsons told the court.

She said Szewczuk also maintained an “extremely violent and aggressively misogynistic” blog that encouraged the rape, torture and murder of women and babies.

“You must become a machine of terror,” Szewczuk had advised his readers.

In online comments, Dunn-Koczorowski suggested that decapitating babies would be acceptable to stop them becoming “leftist politicians” and proclaimed “terror is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.

The pair were arrested the morning after the BBC investigation was broadcast in December.

Detectives found Szewczuk – then a computer science student at the University of Portsmouth – in possession of bomb-making instructions, documents describing how to conduct Islamist terror attacks and a “white resistance” manual.

Hitler imagined as avatar of a god

By Daniel De Simone, BBC home affairs producer

Sonnenkrieg Division, which police say has the most radical ideology on the UK extreme right, is the latest neo-Nazi group to emerge following the proscription of National Action under anti-terror laws three years ago.

Created by a small number of people, Sonnenkrieg used the internet to exaggerate its size and capabilities, with members seeking direct action from those accessing its propaganda.

Terrorism and criminality were encouraged, as was the transgression of what it caricatured as slavish morality, with sexual violence and paedophilia both advocated.

Their bizarre supernatural belief system imagined Hitler to be an avatar of a god, lionised the Moors Murderer Ian Brady and cult leader Charles Manson, and blended violent Satanism, a berserk misogyny, and admiration for radical Islamism.

The aim? To undermine and collapse civilization, which the group deemed a necessary forerunner to the creation of a Nazi warrior society.

BBC News

Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, left, and Michal Szewczuk were members of British neo-Nazi group Sonnenkrieg Division which was exposed by the BBC

Two teenage neo-Nazis, who encouraged an attack on Prince Harry for marrying a woman of mixed race, have been jailed for terrorism offences.

Michal Szewczuk, 19, from Leeds, and Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, 18, from west London, were part of a group called the Sonnenkrieg Division.

An Old Bailey judge said their online propaganda was abhorrent and criminal.

Dunn-Koczorowski was given an 18-month Detention and Training Order. Szewczuk was jailed for just over four years.

The defendants, who appeared by video link from HMP Belmarsh, in south-east London, did not react.

The court heard the teenagers used pseudonyms to run personal accounts on the Gab social media site, as well as sharing control of the Sonnenkrieg Division’s own page, on which they posted self-designed propaganda that encouraged terrorist attacks.

Among other things, the imagery suggested the Duke of Sussex was a “race traitor” who should be shot, glorified the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, and said white women who date non-white men should be hung.

The material was “uniformly violent and threatening” and “the nature of the violence includes rape and execution”, judge Rebecca Poulet said.

Hitler imagined as avatar of a god

By Daniel De Simone, BBC home affairs producer

Sonnenkrieg Division, which police say has the most radical ideology on the UK extreme right, is the latest neo-Nazi group to emerge following the proscription of National Action under anti-terror laws three years ago.

Created by a small number of people, Sonnenkrieg used the internet to exaggerate its size and capabilities, with members seeking direct action from those accessing its propaganda.

Terrorism and criminality were encouraged, as was the transgression of what it caricatured as slavish morality, with sexual violence and paedophilia both advocated.

Their bizarre supernatural belief system imagined Hitler to be an avatar of a god, lionised the Moors Murderer Ian Brady and cult leader Charles Manson, and blended violent Satanism, a berserk misogyny, and admiration for radical Islamism.

The aim? To undermine and collapse civilization, which the group deemed a necessary forerunner to the creation of a Nazi warrior society.

The pair sentenced on Tuesday will have time to reflect whether this was all really such a good idea.

BBC 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

Michal Szewczuk produced propaganda for a neo-Nazi group called the Sonnenkrieg Division


A teenage neo-Nazi who suggested Prince Harry should be shot for marrying a woman of mixed race has pleaded guilty to terror offences at the Old Bailey.

Michal Szewczuk, 19, of Leeds, admitted two counts of encouraging terrorism and five of possessing documents useful to a terrorist.

The charges relate to a neo-Nazi group called the Sonnenkrieg Division.

Co-defendant Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, 18, from west London, pleaded guilty in December to encouraging terrorism.

Both of them were granted conditional bail and are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 17 June.

The pair produced Sonnenkrieg propaganda that, among other things, said Prince Harry was a “race traitor” who should be shot, and lionised the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.

They publicised the propaganda on the social media site Gab, including on a page for the Sonnenkrieg group itself.

Szewczuk, hiding behind a pseudonym, also used a separate account to posts links to self-authored diatribes that called for the “systematic slaughtering” of women and the rape of babies.

Detectives found Szewczuk in possession of bomb-making instructions, documents describing how to conduct Islamist terror attacks and a “white resistance” manual.

The Sonnenkrieg group, which was exposed last year by a BBC investigation, was created as a British version of the American neo-Nazi organisation Atomwaffen Division, which has been linked to five murders.

Oskar Dunn-Koczorowki admitted two counts of encouraging terrorism in December

Szewczuk and Dunn-Koczorowski were arrested the morning after a BBC investigation exposed the group’s activities.

Another man was also arrested and has since been released under investigation.

The group’s ideology, which is influenced by figures such as the murderous cult leader Charles Manson, is a strain of neo-Nazism that openly encourages criminality and acts of terrorism.

Online propaganda and private chat logs show members engaging in extreme misogyny, as well as exalting Jihadist terrorism and a violent strand of Satanism.

Some private messages seen by the BBC suggest Sonnenkrieg members encouraged young women to engage in acts of self-harm.

The Sonnenkrieg Division grew out of a split in the now largely defunct System Resistance Network, which was created after the neo-Nazi group National Action was banned under anti-terror laws in 2016.

Sonnenkrieg and System Resistance Network both contained one-time members of National Action, including Dunn-Koczorowski.

BBC News