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A right wing extremist who threatened to blow up the Express & Star has today been jailed for eight months.

Darren Fletcher outside Wolverhampton Crown Court in November 2013

Darren Fletcher outside Wolverhampton Crown Court in November 2013

The warning was among a string of postings made on Facebook by Darren Fletcher that broke the terms of Criminal Anti Social Behaviour Order imposed on him along with a 12-month prison term in January last year for trying to stir-up racial hatred, a judge heard.

In those days he was called Christopher Phillips but tried to hide his identity by later changing his name by deed poll and using the handle of Whitest Knight to put extremist comments on the internet after his release from jail, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

On November 4 he posted a comment on a Facebook page supporting another man jailed for airing anti-Semitic views.

Fletcher’s message, outlined to the court, read: “Express & Star. The worst. The **** they wrote about me is unforgivable. Their head office needs bombing.”

In other postings on the same site he poured out his hatred for the police and the current state of Britain, the court heard.

He said he hoped the country came ‘crashing to its knees’ and expressed a wish that the terrorist organisation ISIS ‘bombed the **** out of the police’.

The 25-year-old was arrested by counter terrorism officers in a swoop on his home in Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, on November 13, said Mr Robert Price, prosecuting.

Analysis of the defendant’s mobile phone and laptop computer confirmed that he had been the person who posted the offensive Facebook comments while posing as Whitest Knight, the court was told.

Mr Nicholas Towers, defending, said the law breaking comments had been made on a Facebook page supported by people with similar right wing views to those of Fletcher.

The lawyer argued: “He was preaching to the choir and expecting nods of agreement from his audience. This was not aimed at causing widespread offence.”

Fletcher, who suffers from autism and whose father committed suicide, was said to have recently attempted to take his own life.

Mr Towers continued: “He has an obsessive personality and is unable to see normal social limits, but with the far right movement he has discovered that the more extreme his views, the greater the approval.”

Fletcher was originally jailed in January last year after posting a YouTube video showing him dressed as a Klu Klux Klansman while dancing holding a golliwog hanging from a noose.

One of the images he posted on Facebook

One of the images he posted on Facebook

A KKK outfit, National Front membership card, White Pride Worldwide flag and a copy of a letter to a German acquaintance of mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik were uncovered by police during an earlier raid on his home linked to the offence that put him in jail.

Mr Towers argued that the defendant needed help to ‘move off his current obsession with racism and to something more productive’.

The lawyer suggested that a prison sentence would simply serve to harden those far right beliefs.

Forklift truck driver Fletcher, whose partner is 18 weeks pregnant, admitted breaking the terms of his Criminal Anti Social Behaviour Order and was put back behind bars by Judge John Warner who told him: “You deliberately, defiantly and flagrantly defied the order and if I do not send you to prison it would act as a green light for you to carry on in the same way.

“You knew exactly what you were doing and realised you were likely to go to prison as a result.

“No doubt, you hope to be regarded as a martyr to your cause, but this punishment has nothing to do with preventing you from holding extremist view.

After sentencing, Detective Chief Supt Sue Southern, head of West Midlands CTU, said: “Fletcher blatantly flouted the conditions the court imposed on him by posting racist and anti-Semitic comments.

“We understand how offensive and distressing this type of behaviour can be and worked to bring him before the courts for a second time.

“West Midlands Police takes all forms of extremism seriously and we urge anyone with any concerns to contact us on 101.”

Express & Star

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Brian (Clint) Bristow

Brian (Clint) Bristow

An English Defence League member who become involved with a clash with Muslims in Hyde Park has been banned from attending future marches without notifying police in advance.

Brian Bristow, 38, of no fixed address, was one of three men who admitted threatening behaviour towards a man running a stall providing Islamic literature near Speakers’ Corner, in October last year.

The victim was verbally abused and had his possessions thrown around.

Earlier in the day, the men had attended an EDL rally outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington, which ended in a confrontation between EDL members and anti-fascist campaigners in Hyde Park.

At Woolwich Crown Court on August 3, Bristow was jailed for seven days and ordered to pay £400 costs and £10 compensation after admitting using threatening behaviour.

At the same court on Thursday, he was given a conviction-related ASBO (CRASBO) as part of his sentence.

The five-year CRASBO prohibits Bristow from attending any EDL march, demonstration or similar event in England and Wales without have notified a specified email account of Westminster police at least seven days before the event.

He must also not use words or behaviour which might cause harassment, alarm or distress, or be in possession of alcohol or controlled substances, in a public place on the day of a notified event.

In sentencing the men, the judge condemned the “thuggish behaviour” they had demonstrated.

Detective constable Andy Haworth said: “We have to strike a balance between people’s right to protest and the right of individuals to go about their daily business.

“However, we will not tolerate individuals using protest as a front for committing acts of violence and disorder, and hope the antisocial behaviour order will send a message to others.”

Hope not Hate

The group barricaded Tory MEP Sajjad Karim’s house, shouting abuse and holding EDL placards with Mr Karim, his wife and their two children still inside.

Before police made it to the scene they continued on a ‘flash demonstrations’ rampage around Lancashire

Violence later broke out in Brierfield where a 17-year-old Asian man was floored in the street and one man was run over.

Bernard Holmes, an English Defence League commander has been jailed for leading a mob of EDL members to the house of a Muslim MEP

Bernard Holmes, an English Defence League commander has been jailed for leading a mob of EDL members to the house of a Muslim MEP

A ‘commander’ in the English Defence League who led a mob of 40 people to barricade the home of Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim has been jailed for 18 months.

Bernard Holmes, 28, was arrested after members of far right group converged on the property of Mr Karim whilst his wife and two young children were at home.

Claiming they wanted to deliver a letter, invaded the politician’s driveway and were said to have behaving in an ‘intimidating, threatening manner’ and shouting abuse whilst holding up placards from the EDL.

Police were called to the house in Burnley but were too late as the mob had already moved on to carry out a string of ‘flash demonstrations’ in Blackburn and nearby towns led by Holmes.

This is not the first time Mr Karim has experienced harassment from far-right groups like the EDL: In 2010, Mr Karim said he was forced to hire a private security firm for round the clock protection due to threats.

Mr Karim, MEP for North West, said he believed he was targeted for religious reasons because the EDL have an ‘anti-Islamic agenda’.

Mr Holmes, who goes under the nickname ‘Mr B’ is the EDL Blackburn division’s ‘commander’ and led the operation on July 2 last year.

Holmes, from Blackburn pleaded guilty to racially aggravated public order offences and was also given a five year CRASBO on top of his 18 month prison sentence at Preston Crown Court today.

The court heard how the group gathered outside 41-year old Mr Karim’s house at lunchtime in July last year to stage an anti-Islamic protest allegedly regarding EU proposals on the labelling of Halal meat.

The demonstrators carrying placards reportedly went into Mr Karim’s garden and began shouting abuse at him, before peering through his windows and filming his house

Mr Karim was in the house with his wife, Zahida, and two children, 10-year-old Bilal, and Rabia, eight, at the time of the protest.

At the time Mr Karim said: ‘It was very intimidating experience for us. They were all over my driveway and looking into my house.

‘I had my family in the house and it is just disgusting that they were able to do this. My daughter has been left petrified’

Mr Karim, who defected from the Liberal Democrats in 2007, said the group had gone to his house in Burnley, claiming that one member had wanted to deliver a letter to him.

He said people normally used a stamp or arranged to deliver the letter to his parliamentary address.

‘That really was a pretence,’ he said.

‘Their intention was to intimidate, to cause fright to my family and that is why they went about things in the way they did.’

Holmes had a history of violence and in 2010 was jailed for two years and four months after he beat up a man outside a nightclub and left him brain damaged.

After Mr Holmes and the group left Mr Karim’s fighting broke out in nearby Brierfield town centre.

Members of EDL attacked a 17-year-old called Azhar Iqbal and nearby a man was run down by an EDL supporter’s car.

Three people were jailed and seven others were given non custodial sentences for the events in Brierfield town centre. Two other people failed to appear at court and warrants have been issued for their arrest.

It has been confirmed that Bernard Holmes was involved in the general violence but not in these specific events

Lawyers representing them insisted there was no pre-meditated plan to cause trouble in Brierfield.

Supt Steve Pemberton of Lancashire said he was pleased with the convictions and the sentences imposed.

‘This was a spontaneous incident on a busy Saturday afternoon which could have been much more serious than it fortunately was had it not been for the speedy police response and that of local community leaders who were able to quell any subsequent rise in tensions.

Daily Mail

David camp - banned from Cambridge Islamic centres

David camp – banned from Cambridge Islamic centres

A man has been issued an Asbo banning him from going near a number of Islamic premises in Cambridge after he threatened to burn down a mosque.

David Camp, 35, of Thorpe Way, off Ditton Lane, Cambridge, was made subject of an anti-social behaviour order at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court yesterday after he was convicted of several racially aggravated offences..

Camp had previously admitted to posting a large number of offensive anti-Islamic messages on Twitter between April 1 and June 5. He had also admitted to three further public order offences following a drunken outburst in Mill Road on June 30 during which he shouted abuse at members of the public. During that incident Camp threatened to burn down a mosque, he continued to shout abuse at the officers who then arrived and arrested him.

He was sentenced to a 12-month supervision order with alcohol treatment requirement on July 12.

Following an application by police, a two year criminal Asbo was granted, banning Camp from entering parts of Mawson Road, Tenison Road, Devonshire Road, Mill Road or Whitechapel Road, in London. He is also banned from entering St Paul’s Road or Darwin Drive in their entirety, or from going within 50 metres of Omar Farouk Mosque in Kirkwood Road.

Sgt Matt Gadsby said: “We enjoy a rich and diverse mix of cultures and religions in Cambridge and David Camp has caused considerable distress through his behaviour so we are pleased to have secured the order in full.

“This Asbo is fundamentally about promoting public safety and protecting the rights of the community, and will hopefully provide reassurance that we will not tolerate either racism or anti-social behaviour in any form.

“Camp has now been given clearly defined boundaries by the court, and is aware of the penalty should he choose to ignore them. In publicising this matter we are now seeking the support of the community in promoting the effective reporting and enforcement of the order.”

Cambridge News

EDL founder Stephen Lennon

The leader of the English Defence League (EDL) has been convicted of assault after headbutting a member of his group during a rally in Blackburn.

Stephen Lennon, 28, goaded his followers during a rally attended by 2,000 EDL members in April, Preston Magistrates’ Court heard.

He verbally abused Alan McKee, 33, before attacking him.

Lennon who denied common assault, was found guilty of the charge. Sentencing was adjourned to 3 November.

The bench heard Mr Lennon launched a tirade against Mr McKee, calling him a “degenerate mug”, before trouble broke out.

Mr McKnee was pulled from the crowd for his safety. But he later confronted Mr Lennon about his speech, the court was told.

Lennon, who was surrounded by his own security guards and EDL stewards, then stepped forward and headbutted Mr McKee.

Probation report

The EDL leader, of Luton, denied assault and said he had not targeted Mr McKee during his speech.

Lennon said the man he targeted was another man who he said was part of an EDL splinter group, the North East Infidels, intent on causing trouble.

The court heard from two police officers who told the court they were on hand when the incident happened and they clearly saw Lennon headbutt Mr McKee.

After a day-long trial, District Judge Peter Ward said that he believed the police officers and convicted Lennon of common assault.

The judge said he wanted a probation report on Lennon before passing sentence.

He said: “I don’t think one can rule out a custodial sentence, but at the same time I’m keeping it open in light of the report and what is said to the court next time.”

Sentencing was adjourned until 3 November when police will apply for a criminal (anti-social behaviour order) to prevent Lennon attending EDL rallies.

BBC News

A protester at an English Defence League march in Walsall has been given a suspended jail term and banned from any demonstrations for four years.

Peter Jelley outside Walsall Magistrates Court

Peter Jelley was caught on CCTV gesturing and shouting at a line of police in Walsall as trouble broke out at the rally last autumn. He was sentenced to 20 weeks in custody, suspended by a year, and given a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order at the town’s magistrates court.

The 24-year-old from Shropshire admitted a public order offence of using threatening or abusive behaviour at a previous court hearing and was sentenced yesterday.

The footage from the afternoon of September 29 was played to District Judge Michael Morris and showed Jelley walking up to officers and ‘gesticulating and shouting.’ This was despite the efforts of a female to pull him away.

Mr Paul Nicholas, defending, said: “He has faced up to what he has done, he has faced up to being part of the march. He is shameful of what he has done.”

He insisted his client had disassociated himself from others and had become angry after a relative was hurt. The court was told Jelley has previous convictions for a racially aggravated offence in 2011 and assault the year before.

District Judge Michael Morris said: “You went there knowing what would happen. You were on the frontline facing up to police, clearly agitated and pointing to police.”

Jelley, of Prescott Close, Shrewsbury, was sentenced to five months in custody, suspended for a year.

He was also ordered to do 250 unpaid work and go to an adult attendance centre for 36 hours.

He was also ordered to pay £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Express & Star

Richard Price, co-ordinator of the West Midlands division of the EDL Richard Price, co-ordinator of the West Midlands division of the EDL

A leader of the English Defence League who was described as a “political prisoner” after being jailed for violence at a march had already been placed on the sex offenders register for downloading indecent images of children, The Times can reveal.

The far-right group launched a campaign to free Richard Price, co-ordinator of the West Midlands division of the EDL, after he was jailed last month for violent behaviour. But Price, 41, had been convicted in June 2010 of making four indecent images of children, and possessing cocaine and crack cocaine.

That conviction followed an earlier arrest in 2009 for public order offences believed to have been connected with EDL marches. Police were understood to have seized and analysed his computer, leading to the discovery of sexual images of children that he had downloaded. His home was also searched and the drugs were found.

Price admitted four counts of making indecent images of children and two charges of possessing cocaine when he appeared at Birmingham Crown Court. He was banned from owning a computer for a year, given a three-year community supervision order and ordered to sign on to the sex offenders register for five years.

Price, from Quinton, Birmingham, and Collum Keyes, 23, also from Birmingham, were among 12 people arrested when they surged through police lines during a protest in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, in May 2010.

When that case came to court in December, Price admitted using threatening behaviour. He was jailed for three months and given a ten-year Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order banning him from attending marches outside Birmingham. Keyes, who admitted disorderly conduct, was fined £150.

When Price was jailed, EDL members launched a campaign urging supporters to write to the Prime Minister and MPs to try to “win justice for Richard Price, EDL”.

The Aston Villa supporter, who has also been linked to football hooliganism, was even likened by his supporters to a modern-day John Bunyan, the Puritan Christian preacher and author of Pilgrim’s Progress who was jailed for continuing his sermons without the permission of the established Church in the 1600s.

But today’s revelation that one of the EDL’s leading members has been convicted of sex offences will come as a huge embarrassment to a group that has struggled to shrug off its reputation as a new version of the National Front.

In recent months, particularly following the political demise of the British National Party, the EDL has begun to attract more support. Its leader, who had previously used the alias Tommy Robinson, was traced by The Times and gave his first interview using his real name.

Stephen Lennon has vehemently denied that the group he started in Luton, Bedfordshire, is racist, saying that it has even set up a gay and lesbian division and given a prominent role to a Sikh supporter opposed to Islamic extremists.

Supporters of the EDL had claimed that Price became a political prisoner after he, along with Keyes, was banned from organising, controlling or travelling to any open-air protest outside Birmingham for ten years.

It was the first time a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order, sought by Thames Valley Police in conjunction with the National Domestic Extremism Unit, had been issued to a demonstrator connected to the EDL.

Last month, a database of EDL supporters was published on the internet. Hackers had attacked the group’s database of those who had made donations to the EDL and people who had bought clothing from its merchandise wing.

The Times

Daily Star