Co-founder of neo-Nazi terrorist group was dedicated to ‘all-out race war’, court hears

Ben Raymond denies remaining a member of National Action after it was banned by the government in 2016

Lizzie Dearden
Security Correspondent
Tuesday 02 November 2021 23:10 GMT
An image, not showing the defendant, from a National Action march
An image, not showing the defendant, from a National Action march

The co-founder of a neo-Nazi terrorist group was dedicated to an “all-out race war” in Britain, a court has heard.

Ben Raymond, 32, is on trial accused of seven terror offences including remaining a member of National Action after it was banned by the government in 2016.

Bristol Crown Court heard that he coined the phrase “white jihad” to describe his aims, and “fought his holy war with words and images”.

Mr Raymond allegedly co-founded National Action in 2013, and then supported successor groups that operated under different names after the ban.

Opening the trial on Tuesday, prosecutor Barnaby Jameson QC said: “For the defendant and his cohorts, the work of Adolf Hitler was, and remains, unfinished … the movement had an innocuous name, National Action, but the group’s ideology was anything but innocuous.

“It was conceived as the genesis of a UK [Nazi Party paramilitary wing] with no compunction about the use or threat of terror in attaining its objectives.

“It advocated the same Nazi aims and ideals - the ethnic cleansing of anyone who did not fit the Aryan Nazi mould: Jews, Muslims, people of colour, people of Asian descent, people of gay orientation and anyone remotely liberal.”

Mr Raymond denies remaining a member of National Action after it was proscribed as a terrorist group in December 2016.

He has also pleaded not guilty to six counts of possessing documents useful to a terrorist, including the manifesto of Norway shooter Anders Breivik, and manuals for making explosives and homemade guns.

Mr Jameson told jurors that National Action were “not armchair neo-Nazis”, but a “white jihadist group dedicated to an all-out race war”.

Members participated in “paramilitary training” including boxing, knife fighting and mixed martial arts and several owned weapons.

The court was shown photos of Mr Raymond posing with firearms, and images of other members of the group holding machetes, knives, daggers and a crossbow.

Jurors were told that one member had plotted to murder a female Labour MP, while another made a pipe bomb and threatened Muslims.

In 2015, “National Action camp-follower” Zack Davies attacked a random Asian man in a Tesco supermarket in Wales.

Mr Jameson said Mr Raymond had been in “direct communication” with Davies two weeks before the attack, and later made numerous searches for his name online.

Police found a poster depicting Davies with the slogan “Tesco Macht Frei”, an allusion to the slogan above Auschwitz’s gates, on one of the defendant’s devices.

“You may wish to ask yourselves why it was that this defendant was expressing such apparent interest in somebody who had attempted to mumrder a random Asian dentist in a Tesco supermarket,” Mr Jameson told jurors.

The prosecutor said Mr Raymond did not stockpile weapons or carry out physical attacks himself, and likened him to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

“His holy war was fought witha words and images,” he added. “He gave media interviews, setting out the group’s virulent ethnic cleansing agenda to the media with sometimes transcendental calm.”

The court heard that Mr Raymond used his skills as an illustrator and digital designer to create propaganda for National Action and successor groups, including the subsequently banned terrorist groups NS131 and Scottish Dawn.

Mr Jamseon said the defendant had been “forwarding the National Action cause before and after proscription”, and was among the recipients of an email from another member saying the group would “just shed one skin for another” following the ban.

Mr Raymond allegedly replied saying he was “super excited about working on all new projects” on 16 December - the day National Action officially became a terrorist group.

The court heard that he was in contact with “each distinct group” that formed after proscription.

Mr Raymond, of Swindon, denies one count of membership of a proscribed group and six of possessing information useful to a terrorist. The trial continues.

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