A former prison officer who shared neo-Nazi rap songs has today been found guilty of possessing a terrorist handbook called the White Resistance Manual.
However, Ashley Podsiad-Sharp, 42 from Barnsley, has been cleared on another terror-related charge.
Mr Podsiad-Sharp pleaded not guilty to one count of disseminating a terrorist document and not guilty to one count of possessing a document containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, the latter of which he was convicted.
Following an investigation into Mr Sharp’s online activity, he was arrested by Counter Terrorism Policing North East with the assistance of South Yorkshire Police in May 2022.
The defendant appeared at Sheffield Crown Court where he faced accusations of running an online fitness club in which he promoted terrorism through the use of neo-Nazi rap music.
Mr Podsiad-Sharp denied such allegations, reportedly stating that he was merely providing a social outlet for lonely “nationalists”.
Said to be the founder of the White Stag Athletic Club, Mr Podsiad-Sharp described the club as “nationalist boy scouts for grown-ups” which he said was “something beautiful, a brotherhood among a lot of men who have none — white working-class men”.
Mr Podsiad-Sharp did not deny sharing the inflammatory songs — some of which included lines about a “national socialist death squad”, sending Jews to “the ovens” and sprinkling “Zyklon like a condiment” (a reference to Zyklon B, the gas used to murder Jews in extermination camps during the Holocaust) — but said that they were used as a means of “shock humour” and “comedic parody”.
“It is shock humour. If someone who is not a national socialist hears it, they will be shocked, as you guys were. No doubt you think these jokes are horrible, sometimes jokes are horrible — it’s like how far is he willing to go for a laugh, a big part of it is braggadocio.
“It is about how a national socialist sense of humour works. I do not think anybody in their right mind is going to listen to a rap song and conduct terrorism. The very idea is insulting to humanity.”
Denise Breen-Lawton, prosecuting, accused Mr Podsiad-Sharp of issuing a “call to action against the Jews” and “glorifying” the murder of black people, Muslims and homosexuals, to which he reportedly responded: “It is not supposed to glorify, it is supposed to be shocking.”
Mr Podsiad-Sharp also said that there was “very little evidence to support the Holocaust.”
Det Chf Supt James Dunkerley, of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: “Tackling extremist and instructional material is an essential part of protecting the public and preventing it from potentially influencing or informing the actions of others. We will prosecute anyone found to be in possession of such material and will continue work with our partners to remove content of concern from online platforms.”
Judge Jeremy Richardson KC told Mr Podsiad-Sharp that the offence was “very serious” and “there is but one sentence in a case of this kind, and that is a sentence of imprisonment”.
He is due to be sentenced in July.
Campaign Against Antisemitism closely monitors the far-right, which remains a dangerous threat to the Jewish community and other minority groups.
Image credit: Counter Terrorism Policing North East