An obsessive neo-Nazi admirer of Adolf Hitler has been sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of posting “abhorrent” racist material online.
Tobias Powell, 33, of Wythering Close in Bognor Regis, who has a Nazi tattoo, was investigated by Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) over his social media activity. His home was raided by CTPSE in February 2019, where it was discovered that he had “called for a civil war to stop the ethnic suicide of white people; showed support for the terrorist organisation National Action; and shared a picture of his tattoo which contained the Nazi emblem,” according to a CTPSE spokesperson.
While elements of Mr Powell’s offending seemed bizarre, such as setting his Apple ID to “Adolf Hitler” and filming his dog performing a Nazi salute, much of it was much more threatening, for example in one e-mail in which he said that he would have no problem “shooting off a kneecap” or “scalping” someone, referring to the cutting or tearing off of part of a human head.
In an attempt to reduce his sentence, Mr Powell’s lawyer told Portsmouth Crown Court that Mr Powell was “in no position to influence anyone. He is what he is, which is a rather pathetic individual who holds unattractive views and nothing more serious than that,” adding that “He is a petty criminal, he is a drug addict living at home, unemployed, with nothing to do with his time or his day.”
Judge Tim Mousley QC was clearly not persuaded, sentencing Mr Powell to three years in prison, ruling: “I am quite satisfied that you have demonstrated attitudes towards many different ethnic groups, religious groups, people of difference sexualities which are abhorrent to most people. I am also satisfied your views and how you expressed them is particularly worrying and deeply entrenched, they are far-reaching and they are obsessive.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, head of CTPSE, said evidence gathered during the probe revealed Powell had “some very unacceptable views.” She added: “We know there is a fine line between hate speech and terrorism. Showing support for terrorist organisations is not acceptable and if you do that, you should expect to be investigated by us.”
Sussex Police’s Arun and Chichester District Commander, Jon Carter, said that the case “shows the importance of thorough investigation of any use of the internet to spread hate and dangerous material.”