Teenage neo-Nazi convicted of planning UK terror attacks

Matthew Cronjager planned to build a weapons storage bunker for attacks on Jews, Muslims, gay people and the government

Lizzie Dearden
Security Correspondent
Friday 03 September 2021 19:36
<p>Matthew Cronjager, 18, was convicted of preparing acts of terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications</p>

Matthew Cronjager, 18, was convicted of preparing acts of terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications

A teenager who planned to build a weapons storage bunker for attacks by a far-right group has been convicted of terror offences.

Matthew Cronjager, 18, was the UK leader of the internet-based Exiled 393 organisation and worked towards obtaining 3D-printed guns, as well as a shipment of firearms from Europe.

He discussed targets included “powerful Jewish figures in banks and stuff” and “classic far-right targets of blame” including gay people and Muslims, the Old Bailey heard.

The teenager also said he wanted to “execute” an Asian boy after finding out he had slept with white girls.

Police who raided his family home in Essex last December found knuckle dusters and body armour in a wardrobe, and hand-drawn plans for the bunker.

A large collection of extreme right-wing propaganda, bomb instructions and combat manuals was discovered on his digital devices.

Cronjager denied preparing acts of terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications through an online “library” that encouraged attacks, but a jury convicted him of the charges.

Eleven jurors reached the verdicts unanimously after just three-and-a-half hours of deliberations. The 12th juror was discharged during the trial after testing positive for coronavirus.

Cronjager previously pleaded guilty to four offences of possessing information useful to a terrorist, over documents containing instructions on how to kill people with your bare hands, make explosives and create homemade firearms.

Prosecutor Alistair Richardson told the Old Bailey that he ultimately wanted to overthrow the government through a violent race war.

“He hated people of different colour skin, he hated Jews, he hated Muslims, he hated people of different sexual orientation to his own,” he added.

“He wanted to bring about his own revolution, based on his own racist ideology. To that end, he sought to produce a firearm using a 3D printer, he made plans for storage of firearms in preparation for his violent acts, and he provided instructions and funds to others, in order to secure the manufacture of a firearm.”

Guns made using 3D printing were previously used in a 2019 far-right terror attack in Halle, Germany

Cronjager did not know that the groups he was part of on the encrypted Telegram messaging app, including one calling itself The British Hand, had been infiltrated by an undercover police officer.

He sent the officer money and instructions to be used by a contact to 3D-print a gun, while voicing his violent wishes.

The Old Bailey was shown online messages where Cronjager told the officer he wanted to murder a former friend, who was Asian, after being told he was having sex with a white girl.

“I’ve found someone I want to execute,” Cronjager wrote. “He’s a sand n****** that f***ed a white girl. In fact I think three of them.”

The teenager discussed using a conventional shotgun, or manufacturing 3D-printed firearms for himself and “the rest of the lads”.

He was in contact with a neo-Nazi named only under the pseudonym “Bull”, who was the international leader of Exiled 393 and told Cronjager to organise storage for an incoming shipment of conventional guns.

Cronjager drew plans for a storage bunker with labelled sections for mortars, rifles, pistols and ammunition, along with food, water and clothes for the terrorists who would use them.

In November, he told the undercover police officer that Bull said the shipment of guns would arrive in 2021 and added: “I don’t want to start anything too soon but I want to conduct at least one offensive action within two years.”

When he was arrested, Cronjager told police he was “not actually a terrorist” and was only in the neo-Nazi groups because he was “part of Antifa” and wanted to destroy them.

He admitted that was a lie during his trial, but said he would not have harmed anyone and was trying to disassociate from his beliefs.

Cronjager has been diagnosed with mild autism spectrum disorder and gave evidence with the help of an intermediary. The court heard he was highly intelligent with a “superior IQ”.

Cronjager told the court that he started becoming involved with the extreme-right wing after feeling “unhappy and unwelcome” at his grammar school.

He claimed to have been bullied and said he started having “negative feelings” towards other races from the age of 16 because his classmates were “predominantly minority people”.

Cronjager said he would not have murdered the Asian boy he said he wanted to execute, but that his boast of sleeping with white girls was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

“The [main source of my anger] was the change in government legislation that I wasn’t going to see people over Christmas,” he claimed.

The teenager admitted drawing a plan for the bunker, but said no work had been started on it and that he did not want the gun shipment to arrive.

Asked if he wanted to use the items to attack black people, Asian people, Jewish people and the government, he replied: “They would have been used in that way if they had been used yes.”

When asked about messages where he talked of wanting to “conduct at least one offensive action within two years”, Mr Cronjager said he was “just blowing hot air”. “None of this seemed real to me,” he added.

Cronjager, of Ingatestone in Essex, will be sentenced at a later date.