Neo-Nazis convicted for antisemitic race hate
25 Jun 2010 by CST
Two neo-Nazis have been convicted of inciting hatred against Jews and other minorities:
Food packer Michael Heaton, 42, idolised Nazi warlord Rudolf Hess and kept piles of memorabilia including swaztikas and a fearsome armory of weapons.
After a 12 day trial at Liverpool Crown Court Heaton was convicted on four counts of "using threatening and abusive language likely to stir up racial hatred".
At an earlier hearing, his co-defendant Trevor Hannington, 58, admitted six further counts of using threatning and abusive language, and possessing notorious terrorism handbooks "The Anarchists Cookbook" and "The Complete Improvise Kitchen".
The jury heard that both Hannington and Heaton published a string of vile messages on the Aryan Strike Force website, which the pair operated together, between January and June 2008.
Hannington, of Cardiff, South Wales, described as a lonely "Walter Mitty" character, also admitted posting instructions for making a home made flame-thrower on the site operated from his home.
After four-and-a-half hours of deliberation the jury of seven men and five women returned guilty verdicts on the four charges against Heaton. He was found not guilty on two counts of "soliciting to murder".
Hannington was also found not guilty of "soliciting to murder"..
Hannington's hate-filled postings include messages which read: "Kill the Jew, Kill the Jew, Burn the synagogues, and Burn the Scum".
Heaton wrote, "Jews will always be scum, and must be destroyed, I would encourage any race who wants to destroy the Jews, I hate them with a passion."
During the 12 day trial, Mr. Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting, told the court how "fantasist" Hannington lived a double life under the online alias of Fist, in a bid to appear more threatening to fellow members of the right wing group.
The court was also told of Heaton's connections with other convicted neo-nazi extremists, including Mark Atkinson, who was jailed for five years in 2005 for publishing racial hatred in a right-wing magazine called Stormer.
Heaton's relationship with another activist, named only as Maroney, was also described. Maroney is currently serving a life sentence after "fire-bombing" the home of a Yemeni neighbour, before firing a crossbow wildly down the street, and for sexually assaulting his girlfriend.
During a search of Heaton's home, in Greater Manchester, detectives unearthed large quantities of Nazi and Hitler-related material, and a vast array of weapons.
A copy of the Nazi dictator's book, Mein Kampf, was also available to users of the website.
But in interview Heaton confessed that the man he really he idolised Hitler's upper-class henchman Rudolf Hess.
Throughout the trial, jurors were shown evidence of the pair's neo-nazi activities, including a series of videos designed for the training of extremists and activists which featured Mr Heaton violently attacking another man, in a demonstration of strength and aggression.
Members of the jury visibly winced as each blow was struck, and the thud echoed around the courtroom.
Further images showed 6 ft 2 inch Heaton at a Neo-Nazi demonstration in Manchester where he was seen making the Nazi salute.
Mr Edis added that in another posting, Heaton had written: "We are set up to be a force for action, not a gang of keyboard warriors. This is a street active militant organisation."
Swastika flags in Trevor Hannington's home
Neo-Nazi flags, a National Front poster and a samurai sword in Michael Heaton's home
In this report below from Channel 4 News, Home Affairs reporter Simon Israel places these convictions in the context of awider growth in the activities of the violent far right. This includes several other convictions for far right terrorism, and also the street activities of the English Defence League, which Heaton and Hannington supported:
Dr Matthew Feldman, who runs the UK's only research unit on new media and domestic extremism at Northampton University, was the prosecution's key witness in this case.
He says "These are neo-Nazis, pure and simple, and consider themselves really the most extreme versions of this ideological neo-Nazism that is new.
"We have had some evidence, I believe, of activists from the ASF appearing on videos at the English Defence League marches and so forth."
Dr Feldman believes this recent string of convictions of "lone wolf" cases and the creation of the English Defence League point to a resurgence of far right extremism.
He said: "In terms of what we might call small cell or lone wolf terrorists cases since 2008, but also other events in 2008 such as the successful election of two British National Party MEPs in the Yorkshire, Humber area, and in 2009 the creation of the English Defence League on the back of those protests by some radical Islamism groups against the return of Anglican soldiers. So I think there is a confluence of factors that do point to a resurgence in the far right."
The two convicted today actually turned up at several of the EDL rallies and used their website to praise the EDL's actions. Yet the EDL denies any links to these extremists organisation.
We asked for an interview with its organisers so we could put all our evidence to them. They declined.
Does that mean EDL is infiltrated with those with a much more extreme agenda intent on more than just glorified football style violence? Police who monitor these events say no.
Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell, national coordinator for domestic extremism, told Channel 4 News that "we have seen some individuals from the far right on the margins of EDL organised events but these are only one or two individuals. We have found no strong links between extreme groups like the Aryan Strike Force and the EDL."
Yet today's guilty verdicts bring to 16 the total number of far right extremists who have been convicted over the past two years.
The Institute for Race Relations is about to publish a report, which Channel 4 News has had exclusive access to, mapping out 600 serious racist attacks in the UK last year. Many have taken place in towns which have had influxes of a migrant workforce or asylum seekers. But it also hints at a correlation between attacks and pockets of extremism.
We found that of the 16 extremist convictions since 2008, two thirds come from towns which form a corridor across the north of England: Penwortham, south of Preston, to Leigh, west of Manchester, to Batley, to Selby, to Goole, to Grimsby, then further north to Elsdon and Durham.