Matthew Henegan, 35, appeared in court last year on seven charges of publishing, distributing and possessing material in March and April 2020 that is likely to stir up racial hatred. It was also claimed that he distributed leaflets in Cambridgeshire, where he resides, and possessed a document titled “How To Make Armour Piercing Bullets”, which apparently contains information likely to be useful in terrorism. In the raid of his home, investigators reportedly found a Nazi armband and leaflets which referred to Hitler as “your saviour”.
In addition, Mr Henegan asserted that Jewish people masterminded the COVID-19 pandemic and created an hour-long film in which he claimed that Jewish people controlled the police, economy and media. He reportedly referred to Jews as “kikes”, adding that they were filthy and sadistic and branded them “creatures”.
The content was published in documents and videos labelled “Corona Virus Hoax Full Edition”, “Corona Virus Hoax Supplement” and “Corona Virus Hoax Update – How You Are Being Controlled” which was then stored on archive.org, a publically accessible online database.
Jurors watched excerpts from Mr Henegan’s films, one of which included the statement: “One (you) given a standing command upon my death to slaughter the kike, for they will come to slaughter you as they already do and you will enter your children into the same slave stage that you live in today.
“Colonisation is what the kike is doing here with us, they merely turn film into their perverted dream and our reality. The power of the Aryan far exceeds the kikes and I will lead you to victory over these vile sadistic creatures. Your Fuhrer.”
Mr Henegan reportedly appeared at last year’s preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey wearing dark glasses, a hairband and an armband with a red swastika. According to a report, the judge asked the defendant’s lawyer: “Can you see what he’s wearing?”, and ordered Mr Henegan to leave the courtroom. The defendant asked: “Are we done for the day then?” The judge replied: “We are not.” The defendant replied: “I have a right to freedom of expression, freedom of dress, freedom of religion. They are rights not for debate.” The judge instructed the lawyer to give his client advice and said: “Next time it will not be out in the public corridor.” Mr Henegan returned to the courtroom with a jacket, with the armband no longer visible.
Mr Henegan told the jury on Monday: “You may see me, with my moustache, and think of it as a Hitler moustache, rather than Charlie Chaplin or Oliver Hardy. It is clearly your diseased mind that influences your thoughts.”
When Mr Henegan was asked if he was a National Socialist, he replied: “Yes, “I do not pretend otherwise.”
Judge Nigel Lickley said to him: “You have to understand that because of the convictions now recorded against you, you are facing a custodial sentence. The length of that custodial sentence and whether it is immediate or suspended are matters I will decide on the next occasion. I have no firm view at the moment other than all sentencing options are open and that includes immediate custody.”
Prosecutor Julia Faure-Walker told the jury: “Mr Henegan chose to use the particularly derogatory term ‘kike’. There is no way that Mr Henegan was intending there to be any caveats in relation to the ethnic group he was directing hatred towards, it is absolutely clear that the words ‘kike’ and ‘Jew’ are used interchangeably.
“During the video Mr Henegan complains no one listens to him, they’d much rather go on about f***ing antisemitism. He won’t have it that people are trying to raise this matter. He has no time for complaints about racism towards Jews. There must have been a reason why he used the word ‘kike’ within the material.
“The reason it was used was purposely to communicate his intense dislike for this group of people. The endless highly offensive swear words are an indication that he wasn’t just attempting to relay facts. He was trying to conjure up anger and extreme animosity. He was perfectly able to give evidence without using such extreme profanities. That sort of language is reserved for the groups he looks down on, mostly Jews.
“There will be some who look at leaflets, view the video or listen to the audio and immediately dismiss it as rubbish. Unfortunately, there will be others when faced by such highly emotive and charged language who will have feelings of racial hatred.”
Despite denying all charges, Mr Henegan was convicted at the Old Bailey in central London on Monday for publishing, distributing or possessing material intended to stir racial hatred on six counts and one count of possessing a document useful to a terrorist after approximately eleven hours of jury deliberation.
Mr Henegan is due to be sentenced on 14th January at the Old Bailey.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “On top of every other misery that this pandemic has inflicted on the world, it has also been treated as a pretext for racists to promote antisemitic conspiracy theories. Among them is Matthew Henegan, who calls himself the Fuhrer, came to court with a Nazi armband and says that Jews control the media and police and are behind a supposed ‘Covid hoax’. We welcome this conviction of this abominable individual, and we call for a sentence that keeps him out of society and keeps the rest of us safe from the danger that he poses.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has been monitoring and acting against the threat from the far-right for years, continues to urge the Jewish community to remain vigilant and welcomes the seriousness with which the authorities are treating the danger.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has launched a new weekly podcast. New episodes of Podcast Against Antisemitism are available every Thursday and can be streamed here or downloaded wherever you get your podcasts.