A teenage neo-Nazi has been spared jail after the presiding judge was told that he could get all As in his A-level exams, it was reported last week.
It was said that police found images of the seventeen-year-old boy performing Nazi salutes, along with memes that glorified the Norwegian neo-Nazi terrorist Anders Breivik. It was also said that the boy had downloaded several terrorist manuals.
Kelly Brocklehurst, prosecuting, told the court how thousands of images depicting a “concerning level of commitment to an extreme ideology” were found by investigating officers. Ms Brocklehurst added that the boy had shown interest in James Mason’s “Siege Culture”, a collection of neo-Nazi writings which was found in his bedroom during the police raid.
Bristol Youth Court was also told that the teenager had swastikas, a noose, and the letters “DOTR” carved into his bedroom desk, a reference to the Day of the Rope ideology that advocates the mass lynching of all those considered to be “race traitors”. Detailed methods of how to murder someone were also allegedly found on his phone by Gloucestershire Police.
The teenager admitted eleven counts of collecting material of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000, it was reported.
Stephen Donnelly, defending, was reportedly adamant that there was an “air of optimism for the future and the way [the youth] can be confronted by his actions in the past,” adding that the teenager is “very much loved.”
“The court can take assurance from the fact there is that network of support in the future,” Mr Donnelly said. He added: “He is still on course to achieve high grades if allowed to complete his A-level studies next year. That should be a pointer for the court. Rehabilitation outside the custodial environment is the best course.”
Chief Magistrate and Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring handed the boy, who was fifteen and sixteen-years-old at the time of the committed offenses, a twelve-month referral order at Bristol Youth Court for terror offences, after changing his mind about giving him a twelve-month custody sentence.
Senior District Judge Goldspring said: “My initial view was to send you into custody for twelve months, I have taken a step back, I am satisfied I don’t need to do that…it is really important that you take this opportunity to pause and think. I have to be honest there will be almost no way out if I see you in court again.”
He added: “You clearly work very hard in school and are obviously very, very intelligent. Although, I don’t want anyone to get the impression that someone less intelligent should be treated less well.”
Detective Superintendent Craig McWhinnie, Head of Counter Terrorism Policing South West, said: “Whilst there was no risk to the county, individuals such as this who promote dangerous extremist views and content have no place in our society. We will continue to seek them out and prosecute them.
“The entrenched views and hatred displayed by this young person combined with their consumption of violent and disturbing literature remain deeply concerning. This investigation is another stark reminder of the hateful and damaging material found online that for all of us, is only a few clicks away. This material creates a very real risk to the young and vulnerable in our communities, in our schools and indeed, in our own homes. This is especially true over the course of the pandemic where young people spend more time online, often alone and unsupervised.
“We would encourage those who care for young persons to have honest and frank conversations about online activity, to look out for the signs that indicate a potential shift in beliefs or attitude and to be intrusive on occasion to ensure they are safe online. The Act Early website has a wealth of information for anyone with concerns to help them understand what radicalisation looks like and provides advice on what to do in the first instance.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has been monitoring and acting against the threat from the far-right for years and continues to support the authorities following suit.