‘Extreme fascist terror cell’ recruited children while making explosives and 3D-printed gun, court hears

Member of alleged cell called for coordinated terror attacks to ‘cause utter mayhem’, court told

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Editor
Thursday 20 January 2022 21:41
<p>The Oaken Hearth Telegram channel was used by the defendants to recruit neo-Nazis and share terrorist material </p>

The Oaken Hearth Telegram channel was used by the defendants to recruit neo-Nazis and share terrorist material

An “extreme fascist terror cell” recruited children online while calling for violence and making explosives and 3D-printed guns, a court has heard.

Three men and a woman are on trial at Sheffield Crown Court for alleged terrorist activity over the first four months of last year.

Samuel Whibley, 29, Daniel Wright, 29, Liam Hall, 31, and his girlfriend Stacey Salmon, 29, deny a total of 15 terror and firearm charges.

The court heard that when police searched Mr Hall and Ms Salmon’s home in Keighley, west Yorkshire, they found an improvised explosive device, homemade explosive substances, chemicals and parts of a 3D-printed handgun.

On 18 January 2021, one of the defendants allegedly called for coordinated terror attacks in a closed chat on the encrypted Telegram messaging app.

The court heard that Mr Whibley praised the Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant, Norway terrorist Anders Breivik and Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh as “once in a generation individuals”.

“We cannot all commit to this,” he allegedly wrote. “For the time being, I believe those who are capable of action should work together.

“No more lone wolf ‘take a few with me’ s***, as much as we love it isn’t good enough. Work in teams and cause utter mayhem when you strike.”

During an online conversation including fellow defendant Mr Wright on 28 April, Mr Whibley said people should not “waste their lives for what five, 10 enemies”.

He urged people to “think bigger”, adding: “Breivik, Tarrant, McVeigh, their actions set the stage, we are the main performance. We give the audience what they want.”

He allegedly discussed the “measure of violence we will need to apply and how we will go about it” but urged people to “hit the f***ing gas pedal, accelerate”.

Mr Whibley allegedly set up a public Telegram channel called Oaken Hearth, which he called a “gathering place for British white nationalists”, and linked private chat.

The court heard that he vetted people prior to admission into the chat, demanding they prove they were white with a photo, and answered a series of questions about their age, history of involvement in neo-Nazi movements and “prepping” for a race war.

The trial is taking place at Sheffield Crown Court

Prosecutor Annabel Darlow QC told jurors it was “apparent that those involved in the chat were only too well aware that many of those being recruited through the vetting procedure were children”.

“The channel was used to spread copies of manuals and propaganda writings by members of the extreme right wing and to radicalise and indoctrinate its members, as well as providing them with the information and encouragement necessary to carry out acts of terror,” she added.

“Despite it being apparent that certain users of the chat were children, this in no way deterred those involved from the process of radicalisation and the repeated provision of detailed information on matters including the manufacture of homemade firearms.”

The court heard that both the Oaken Hearth chat and public channel contained material celebrating right-wing terrorists, including hailing the Christchurch shooter and other mass killers as “saints”.

Other themes including racial violence, the jury was told, with all four defendants sharing anti-black and antisemitic videos, memes and images, as well as material glorifying Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

Ms Darlow said the defendants were “aspiring to dwarf with their own unspeakable achievements what had already been done by those such as Breivik”.

“These four defendants were members of an extreme fascist and terroristic cell,” she added.

“They embraced extreme right-wing propaganda and celebrated racist violence and killing. The defendants demonstrated an active interest in the manufacture of explosives and weaponry.

“They sought out the means and technical information required to manufacture firearms at home, using 3D printers to print plastic parts which could then be assembled together with metal components, with the intention of creating functional and lethal firearms.

“The prosecution alleges that the ideology embraced by these defendants and the violent, terroristic views they expressed, clearly demonstrate that their actions in respect of these homemade firearms were terrorist in nature.”

Mr Whibley, of Menai Bridge in Anglesey, is charged with two counts of disseminating terrorist publications using the Oaken Hearth Telegram Channel and linked chat.

He is also charged with encouraging terrorism by sharing a cache of documents including bomb and weapons manuals, and disseminating the files.

Mr Whibley faces three further charges of disseminating other terrorist documents and a separate count of encouraging terrorism.

Mr Wright, of Braithwaite, Keighley, is charged with one count of disseminating a terrorist document and three counts of possessing terrorist documents.

He and Mr Hall, of Keighley, are jointly accused of manufacturing a prohibited firearm. Ms Darlow said parts of a PG22 found at Mr Hall’s home were not capable of discharging a bullet alone but “the missing parts could be relatively easily acquired to produce a working firearm with lethal potential”.

Mr Wright, Mr Hall and Ms Salmon are jointly charged with possessing components of a 3D-printed gun “for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism”.

They deny all charges and the trial continues.

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