Teenage neo-Nazi from Rugby found guilty of terrorism offences - The Rugby Observer

Teenage neo-Nazi from Rugby found guilty of terrorism offences

Editorial Correspondent 2nd Oct, 2020 Updated: 2nd Oct, 2020   0

A NEO-NAZI teenager from Rugby who counted Hitler among his heroes has been found guilty of terrorism offences today (Friday October 2) after he researched how to convert a blank-firing gun into a live weapon.

The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons due to his age, told police he was “a nine to 10” on a scale with “full on Nazi Hitler” as a 10.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court deliberated for more than 15 hours over four days before unanimously convicting the boy of preparing for terrorist acts between April and September last year.

The defendant closed his eyes as the verdict was delivered, then sat down with his head propped on his hand as members of his family wept in the nearby public gallery.




The youth, an ex-Royal Air Cadet, told the court he had not intended any act of terrorism, and “had existed in an echo chamber” of far-right chat rooms.

At the start of a month-long re-trial, prosecutor Matthew Brook said the evidence showed the teenager wanted to create a firearm capable of “smashing heads” after joining the so-called Feuerkrieg Division (FKD).


The youth, who was convicted on Friday (October 2), saw his original trial halted in March due to the national Covid-19 lockdown.

In his opening speech to jurors, Mr Brook said the boy had praised the terrorist who carried out a mass shooting last year in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people at two mosques.

Mr Brook told the jury panel: “In this case, the evidence will prove that the defendant became radicalised so he fully believed in extreme right-wing ideology.

“He came to believe an ideology which thinks a race war is coming, an ideology which believes its followers should bring about a race war, should accelerate its start, so that the white race can become supreme.

“He came to believe in an ideology which praises terrorists who carry out mass shootings, like the Christchurch shootings in New Zealand, and called the perpetrators of such terrorist massacres ‘saints’.”

The court was told that the boy, who had admitted possessing documents likely to be useful to a terrorist, researched how to convert a blank-firing gun and had offered advice to members of neo-Nazi chat groups.

Jurors also heard the youth was admitted to an online neo-Nazi grouping after completing a “test” survey in which he expressed a hatred for Jews.

In one series of chatroom messages, the defendant said he was an administrator for a group named League of Nationalists, which was “probably” not going anywhere, but added: “Whatever happens I’m going to have a local unit.

“I’m working on the propaganda and the weapons. I need men.”

Following the youth’s arrest last September, it emerged he had asked an adult friend for advice on where he could buy a blank-firing gun.

In interviews conducted around a fortnight after his home was raided, he was asked to explain gun-making instructions found on his phone, and knives and a home-made gun stock seized from his bedroom.

A rubber “practice” knife, a face-mask featuring an image of a skull, and a piece of aluminium pipe were also recovered, along with sketches of gun designs.

On the boy’s phone, detectives also found clips of the New Zealand attacks in Christchurch mosques in March 2019, the shooting in El Paso, Texas in August 2019, and the Anders Breivik attack in Norway.

Mr Brook said of the boy’s exchanges with other members of neo-Nazi forums: “They had discussed their extreme dislike for some racial groups and he had also talked to them about making firearms and specifically about using blank-firing guns as a basis to build functional weapons.

“He said to the police that he had held right-wing views for a number of years, but he had recently been talking to more extreme people.

“He claimed that, although he had been discussing with these people about converting guns, it had in fact all been a fantasy and he had not done anything in the real world.

“When asked to put himself on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being, in the police’s words, ‘full-on Nazi Hitler’ – when asked to put himself on that scale – he said he was a nine to 10.”

Judge Paul Farrer QC remanded the defendant in custody until a sentencing hearing on November 6.

He told the boy’s barrister: “There’ll have to be a sentencing exercise to embrace not only this count but also the other nine charges he pleaded guilty to in relation to the nine expedient documents – the terrorism documents, as within the Terrorism Act.

“He’s still only 17 years old, he was 16 at the relevant time.

“While the nature of the sentence may be inevitable, the court is going to benefit from having some input from the youth offending team.”

Speaking after the trial, Det Ch Supt Kenny Bell, the head of the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “This boy had an unhealthy interest in other attacks across the world and he knew exactly what online platforms to join to share his extreme views.

“He believed he had the skills to convert a blank firing weapon into a viable firearm and was willing to help others with his abilities.”

DCS Bell highlighted the commitment by counter terrorism policing to tackle all forms of extremist ideology.

He said: “We have seen many convictions over the last few years in connection with extreme right wing terrorism and this work continues apace. These extreme groups have the potential to threaten public safety and security.

“We work tirelessly to counter terrorism. Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety and security of the people who live, work and visit the West Midlands area.”

Visit www.gov.uk/ACT to report any suspected terrorist activity in confidence. Always call 999 in an emergency.

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