Publisher of `vile and evil' race hate magazine is sent to jail

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The Independent Online
The publisher of a "vile and evil" race hate magazine responsible for a terrifying campaign against Frank Bruno's mother, was jailed for 21 months yesterday.

Mark Atkinson, 31, a leading member of the far-right Combat 18 group, was caught "red-handed" with hundreds of copies of Stormer just before they were dispatched to subscribers across Britain. Another issue of the 12-page production, which preaches violence and death towards Jews, blacks, left-wingers, and anyone else who dares disagree with its views, was found on a computer disk.

Judge George Bathurst-Norman told Southwark Crown Court that in 37 years in the legal profession he had "never encountered such vile outpourings of hatred and incitement to violence as revealed in these magazines. From reading them Combat 18's purpose is clearly aimed at stirring up racial hatred and violence not only against racial, ethnic and religious minorities and their supporters within our society but also targeting and naming specific individuals within those sections.

He told Atkinson: "I have to say to you and any others like you that those who seek to spread such evil discord in our midst can expect no mercy from the courts."

One of his victims had been Lynette Bruno, the 67-year-old mother of the former world heavyweight boxing champion.

"In disclosing her name and address and stirring up racial hatred against her, Mrs Bruno ... is driven from her home," the judge said. Neither did he have any doubt that by listing their names and addresses in Stormer, a number of Jewish organisations and synagogues were targeted with hate mail.

The judge then condemned the way Combat 18 and their pounds 1.50 a time magazine had turned their attentions to the Liberal Democrat leader, Paddy Ashdown. "When a politician speaks out against racism in his local community you target him in one issue and then you celebrate the fire-bombing of his car in the next. You give his name and address and invite his murder with the words `he doesn't deserve to live'."

The judge said Parliament had fixed the maximum penalty for publishing material of this type at just two years.

"It may be that Parliament should look again at the activities of people such as you and others like you who are minded to indulge in such activities and reconsider whether the present maximum sentence is sufficient. In my view it is not."

On Wednesday, Robin Gray, 35, a former National Front by-election candidate who lived with Atkinson, was convicted of possessing Stormer with a view to distributing it. Sentence was adjourned for reports.