Luca Benincasa, 20, became the first person to be convicted of belonging to the Feuerkrieg Division (FKD) since it was banned in July 2020. He is understood to have been a prominent member of the group.
The group, which mainly exists online, promotes violence and mass murder in pursuit of a race war.
He also pleaded guilty in August to three counts of possessing indecent images of children, one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image and one count of possessing a prohibited image of a child between 29th December 2021 and 1st January 2022.
Mr Benincasa, from Cardiff, was today sentenced at Winchester Crown Court to five years and seven months for the terrorism charges. He must also serve a consecutive eight month sentence for pornographic images charges. He will be jailed in a young offenders’ institution. In addition, he was also given an extended licence period of three years for the terror charges.
When the police raided Mr Benincasa’s residence, they found a flag depicting the logo of the SS, the Nazi paramilitary organisation, hanging from his bedroom wall, and a Nazi dagger and parts of an SS officer’s uniform, including a hat and a swastika armband, among his possessions. He had reportedly also taken photos of himself on his phone wearing the SS uniform and covering his face, and displaying a Stanley knife, rifle and SS dagger.
His laptop, meanwhile, was found to contain Nazi and neo-Nazi literature and documents. An unfinished “Feuerkrieg Division Handbook” was also discovered, which said that the group does not “encourage” illegal activities” but would not “disavow” a “true warrior” who “takes up arms and fights for the sake of our race”. It listed the Government, anti-fascist activists and journalists as enemies.
On Instagram and Snapchat, Mr Benincasa wrote messages such as: “I’m a neo… nazi” and “I am an extremist I commit multiple acts of hate crimes” and “told my mum I wanna be a terrorist…little does she know I’m currently classed as one already.” Police reportedly also found evidence in Telegram threads that he was “actively recruiting” people to join FKD, telling one applicant, “I usually want to genocide anyone that’s not white.”
Prosecutors described a “manifesto” drafted by Mr Benincasa and seized by police as “extremely racist” and “extremely antisemitic”. During the trial, the court also heard that he browsed the internet for “forced teen porn”, “rape games” and “child sacrifice”. Far-right and Satanic graffiti was also reportedly found at Mr Benincasa’s prison cell at HMP Chelmsford.
Mr Benincasa’s defence barrister told the court that his client’s guilty plea, young age, clear criminal record and likely diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder should mitigate his sentence.
Sentencing Mr Benincasa today, Judge Jane Miller KC told Mr Benincasa: “By 1st February 2022 you were calling yourself the UK cell leader of FKD and one of its recruiters.” She concluded: “You were clearly a prominent member of the organisation.” She further described the material seized by police as “racist, antisemitic and homophobic” and said that Mr Benincasa’s messages to like-minded people showed him to be “fanatical and single minded.”
Detective Superintendent Mark Pope, of Counter Terrorism Policing Wales who led the investigation, said: “The dangerous nature of the material in Benincasa’s possession cannot be underestimated. This is why it is of such importance to hold to account those who seek to join proscribed organisations and gather material which may be useful to a terrorist. This intelligence-led investigation has resulted in the conviction of a dangerous individual and highlights the commitment by counter terrorism policing to tackle all forms of extremist ideology.”
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