Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

National Action: British soldier 'was collecting weapons and planning all-white strongholds for race war'

Lance Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen allegedly collected alongside crossbows and other weapons, along with Nazi memorabilia 

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Tuesday 13 March 2018 20:37 GMT
Mikko Vehvilainen and Mark Barrett (centre) on trial at Birmingham Crown Court where they are accused of being part of the proscribed organisation National Action.
Mikko Vehvilainen and Mark Barrett (centre) on trial at Birmingham Crown Court where they are accused of being part of the proscribed organisation National Action. (PA)

A British Army soldier was stockpiling daggers, machetes and Nazi memorabilia, while planning to create all-white “strongholds” ahead of a race war, a court has heard.

Lance Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen is one of two soldiers accused of joining the neo-Nazi group National Action, which has been banned as a terrorist organisation.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that the 33-year-old had obtained a crude version of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) device and written a list of “security kit”.

Counter-terror police who raided his accommodation at the Sennybridge Camp in Powys, in September, found the device alongside lists of weapons “that needed to be achieved” and a manifesto written by far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC told the jury: “In a notebook recovered from the defendant’s address, he had drafted a document headed ‘Extinction’. From its content it appears to be the first edition of a magazine in which he referred to the ‘extinction’ being the ‘genocide being forced upon whites’.”

Part of the notebook entry allegedly read: “Be prepared to fight and die for your race in a possible last stand for our survival.”

Mr Atkinson said: “The lists – and indeed the substantial quantity of weaponry recovered from his address – reveal and speak to his intention to stockpile weapons and other equipment in preparation for the ‘race war’ that he spoke of.”

LCpl Vehvilainen, 33, is alleged to be a recruiter for National Action, bringing in 25-year-old Private Mark Barrett who was based at Kendrew Army Barracks in Rutland.

The pair were arrested in coordinated raids alongside a 23-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Home Affairs Committee question Google over failure to remove National Action content

The court heard that LCpl Vehvilainen answered his door to police, confirming his identity and telling his wife: “I’m being arrested for being a patriot.”

Machetes, daggers, knuckle-dusters, a crossbow, arrows, circuit boards and a hammer were found at the property, along with several Nazi flags, the jury was told.

CDs of music related to the Third Reich were found in a car, while a search of another address linked to LCpl Vehvilainen led to the recovery of swastika-emblazoned bunting, the court heard.

“Not only were lists of weapons found, but there were stockpiles of weaponry which were recovered at the address,” Mr Atkinson said. “Those, the prosecution suggest, were Vehvilainen putting into effect his repeated call, quite literally a call to arms on the part of those who, like him, wanted to create a white-only society.”

Pte Barrett, who served alongside his co-defendant in the Royal Anglian Regiment, was detained at an army base in Cyprus on the same day.

After Pte Barrett was brought back to the UK, his personal effects were found to include two National Action cards – one labelled “White Jihad” – and a homemade cardboard swastika was found in his accommodation area.

The pair are alleged to be active members of the “virulently racist” group both before and after it was banned in December 2016.

The 23-year-old defendant received an email from a National Action leader assuring them that the group was merely “shedding one skin for another”, adding: “All genuinely revolutionary movements in the past have needed to exist partly underground. These are exciting times.”

The group’s members were known for performing Hitler salutes at rallies, with prosecutors describing a “campaign of virulently racist, antisemitic, and homophobic propaganda, through which it sought to stir up a violent race war against ethnic minorities and others it perceived as ‘race traitors’”.

National Action vocally supported the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, taking on a statement shouted by her killer in court as its slogan.

LCpl Vehvilainen has denied two charges of stirring up racial hatred, and one count of possession of a terrorism manual.

The other male is facing three counts of possession of a terrorism manual – including a copy of Breivik’s pamphlet – and one count of distributing material likely to be useful to terrorists.

The trial continues.

Additional reporting by PA

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