Neo-Nazis convicted of race hate charges

Two "proud neo-Nazis" who posted abusive messages on the internet about Jews and other ethnic minorities were convicted of inciting racial hatred today.

Michael Heaton, 42, and Trevor Hannington, 58, are members of the so-called Aryan Strike Force (ASF), their trial at Liverpool Crown Court heard.



The jury was told the pair left comments on the ASF website.



In one, Heaton said of Jews: "...They will always be scum, destroy 'em with whatever it takes".



He also wrote: "I would encourage any religion or race that wants to destroy the Jews, I hate them with a passion ...".



Hannington, from Cardiff, posted the message: "Kill the Jew, Kill the Jew, Burn down a synagogue today! ... Burn the scum..."



After a two-week trial both were unanimously cleared of soliciting murder but Heaton was convicted of six counts of using threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to stir up racial hatred.



Hannington had previously admitted two counts of stirring up racial hatred and two further counts of possessing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.



Hannington admitted owning the Anarchist's Cookbook, Kitchen Complete and The Terrorist Encyclopaedia, all of which are considered useful tools to someone preparing or committing an act of terrorism.



He pleaded guilty to inciting racial hatred with internet posts stating his beliefs that Jews were "parasites feeding on others" and "utterly evil sub-beings".



He also admitted publishing a post on the internet with instructions on how to make a flame thrower out of a water pistol.



Heaton was accused over four comments he made on the ASF website (ASF) between January and April 2008.



In one post he wrote that black people were "less intelligent than other species", and in another that Jews were leeches and "treacherous f****** scum".



The defence argued the men were innocent of soliciting murder because they were nothing more than "fantasists".



But Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting, told the jury the men "made it their life's work" to spread racist messages and encourage others to help them achieve their goal of "the eradication of ethnic minorities from Britain".



"Each of these men is proud to call himself a National Socialist, or a neo-Nazi in other language," Mr Edis said.



"Each is a member of an organisation called the Aryan Strike Force, whose goal it is to clear the country of all ethnic minorities, as they say, whatever it takes."



The prosecutor said Heaton made more than 3,000 posts on the ASF website between January and June 2008, before he had a "bust-up" with the organisation and created his own, The British Freedom Fighters.



The website changed its name to Legion 88 and then Wolfpack, before it was closed down.



Mr Edis explained that the number eight refers to the eighth letter in the alphabet, H. So 88 stands for HH, as in Heil Hitler, a common greeting for neo-Nazis.



Both men used a number of names when they posted their comments on the website. Heaton called himself Wigan Mike, and then later Lenny. Hannington gave himself the names Fist, Lee 88 and Paul.



Heaton and Hannington were remanded in custody until sentencing tomorrow morning.



Police investigating the pair's activities found a variety of weapons at the homes of both men, including knives and firearms.



Heaton's bedroom was adorned in flags with symbols of far-right movements, and a samurai sword hung above his bed.



Elsewhere around the house officers found numchucks, batons, knives and knuckle dusters hanging on the walls, and a BB machine gun was also recovered at the property.



Flags bearing swastikas were strewn around Hannington's house and police found a personal armoury including an air rifle and daggers.



Detective Chief Superintendent David Buxton, head of the North East Counter Terrorism Unit said: "Heaton and Hannington are white supremacists.



"They peddled hatred against innocent people purely on the basis of their ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and culture.



"Their intolerance is obsessive and goes way beyond offensive posts on ASF and Legion 88 forums.



"They used every opportunity to encourage violent attacks against everyone they took exception to."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
'Prison Architect' players decide the fate of inmates
tech
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor