Neo-Nazi terrorist group’s co-founder called for ‘traitors’ to be gassed in speech, court hears

Ben Raymond is accused of remaining a member of National Action after it was banned as a terrorist group

Lizzie Dearden
Security Correspondent
Wednesday 03 November 2021 20:47
<p>Ben Raymond, centre, speaking at a National Action demonstration in Liverpool in February 2016</p>

Ben Raymond, centre, speaking at a National Action demonstration in Liverpool in February 2016

The co-founder of a neo-Nazi terrorist group threatened to “gas traitors” in a speech, 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 December 2016.

On Wednesday, Bristol Crown Court was shown footage of a speech he gave during a protest in Liverpool earlier that year.

Mr Raymond, who denies all charges, was seen standing on steps opposite Lime Street station, surrounded by National Action members wearing skull masks and performing Hitler salutes.

The defendant called Liverpool a city where “the enemies of this nation preach their race-mixing communism”.

“The front pages of their newspapers and the TV shows said ‘stop the White Man March’, and do you know who is responsible?” he added.

“Not the people who are afraid that we are going to make Britain great again, but the ones who are afraid we are going to gas them all for being traitors - and we will.”

Shouting through a megaphone, Mr Raymond called National Action the “faithful soldiers of the nationalist idea” and added: “We exist and continue the battle for the final victory of our race.”

Jurors were told that one of the men standing near him during the speech was Jack Renshaw, a National Action member who was later jailed for plotting to murder a Labour MP.

The court heard that Mr Raymond co-founded National Action in 2013, and then supported successor groups that operated under different names it was banned as a terrorist group in December 2016.

Prosecutor Barnaby Jameson QC called the organisation a “white jihadist group dedicated to an all-out race war”.

He likened Mr Raymond to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, saying he fought “his holy war with words and images”.

Jack Renshaw admitted plotting to kill his local Labour MP with a sword

“He gave media interviews, setting out the group’s virulent ethnic cleansing agenda to the media with sometimes transcendental calm,” Mr Jameson said.

“Other times his massage was more direct. At the flash demonstration in February 2016 it was the defendant who shouted National Action’s message through a megaphone that traitors would be gassed.”

In November 2016, the then-leader of National Action, Christopher Lythgoe, sent an email to senior members laying out the group’s structure.

A copy of the document shown to the jury named Mr Raymond as an “advisor/diplomat/intermediary”, and also listed him under the “strategy” and “propaganda” sections.

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” after the ban.

He 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.

Later that month, Mr Raymond was added to an online chat group of former National Action members called “Inner”.

“Everybody in the Inner chat group is a convicted member of National Action apart from this defendant, who stands trial for membership,” Mr Jameson said.

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.

Jurors were shown images found on his electronic devices appearing to show multiple versions of different logos and designs for posters and stickers.

They were also shown records of messages between Mr Raymond and neo-Nazis who were later convicted of National Action membership about specific designs.

In one such conversation in January 2017 on the encrypted Wire messaging service, the defendant urged another man to delete their messages in case “authorities just waltzed into my room and came across this”.

When a senior member of National Action was arrested in May that year, he wrote an email saying: “I need to call Ben just to talk over this.” He was later convicted, the court heard.

Mr Raymond, of Swindon, 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. The trial continues.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in