A man has been sentenced to four years in prison, with an extended licence of one year, after being found guilty of preparing to commit acts of terrorism.
Luke Skelton, nineteen from Washington, was convicted at Teesside Crown Court in May. The jury’s decision came after a previous panel failed to reach a decision.
The court heard that Mr Skelton absorbed far-right ideology whilst researching bomb-making. The student, between the dates of October 2020 and October 2021, carried out a “hostile reconnaissance” of Forth Banks police station in Newcastle, in which he would take photographs and conduct searches for CCTV cameras, whilst he was a student at Gateshead College.
Nicholas De La Poer KC, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Skelton had professed an admiration for Adolf Hitler and Oswald Mosley, and that searches for neo-Nazi content were discovered on his devices. The prosecution said that Mr Skelton posted antisemitic, Islamophobic, homophobic, and other racist and sexist comments online.
Judge Paul Watson KC, the recorder of Middlesbrough, stated that Mr Skelton was “a committed and active rightwing extremist” who was believed in white supremacy and promoting racial hatred.
Mr Skelton, who was said to be obsessed with nazism, “made heroes out of those who carry out atrocities in the name of fascism and other extreme rightwing ideologies”.
Judge Watson KC said: “Your fantasy was to turn back the pages of history books to times when such xenophobic and hateful views were tolerated and even admired…Your objective was to cause explosions to provoke what you saw as a coming race war…This was no spur of the moment or impulsive conduct.”
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