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Extremist Craig Cooke became obsessed with victim after they went on a date

Craig Cooke, 24, of Hartsbourne Avenue in Belle Vale, jailed for three years and four months after being caught with a kitchen knife and two Molotov cocktails

Craig Cooke, 24, of Hartsbourne Avenue in Belle Vale, jailed for three years and four months after being caught with a kitchen knife and two Molotov cocktails



A Nazi sympathiser went to a man’s home armed with a knife and two Molotov cocktails when he rejected his advances.

Craig Cooke, 24, became obsessed with his victim after they went on a date – harassing him at home, on Facebook and at work.

After police caught Cooke with the deadly arsenal in Huyton , they searched his bedroom and found a Nazi uniform and body armour.

Concerned doctors spent months considering whether Cooke – who has Asperger’s syndrome – should be sectioned indefinitely.

Eventually they decided he was unsuitable for hospital treatment and there were no appropriate mental health unit beds available.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, jailed Cooke, of Hartsbourne Avenue in Belle Vale, for three years and four months at Liverpool Crown Court .

He said: “On occasion you become obsessed and you become fixated with what you perceive is, or may be, an injustice.

The Molotov cocktails Craig Cooke, 24, of Hartsbourne Avenue in Belle Vale, made at home.

The Molotov cocktails Craig Cooke, 24, of Hartsbourne Avenue in Belle Vale, made at home.

“If that obsession remains within you then there is, at the very least, a potential that you could harm others.

“The items you were carrying, incendiary devices and a large kitchen knife, are capable of causing untold injury and misery to entirely innocent people.”

Cooke admitted making and possessing an explosive substance and having a blade in a public place on December 18 last year.

A dog walker called police after spotting him acting suspiciously in an area near Tarbock Road and Marina Crescent at around 9pm.

When officers arrived, Cooke admitted having a large kitchen knife in his jacket and two bombs in his rucksack.

Jonathan Turner, prosecuting, said he confessed: “I had a bomb but I couldn’t go through with it.”

The bottles stuffed with rags contained flammable liquid from Cooke’s shed. He was also carrying a lighter, balaclava and pair of gloves.

Mr Turner said: “Images were taken of the defendant’s bedroom, which showed paraphernalia linking him to Nazism, the English Defence League and White Pride, and body armour.”

Cooke told police he had been drinking and decided to visit the man and show him the weapons to frighten him.

Mr Turner said: “He said he wanted him to feel something, he wanted to shock him and he wanted to punish him in a sense.”

After their date, Cooke contacted his victim repeatedly, going to his home, “bothering him on Facebook” and “even applying for a job at the same place of work”.

Prosecutors did not accept that Cooke only wanted to frighten his victim, having gone to such trouble to make the bombs.

However, Mr Turner conceded the Crown did not charge him with intent to endanger life and he would be sentenced on that basis.

Jeremy Hawthorne, defending, said: “Having manufactured these devices and taken them by taxi to the location in question, he thought better of it. He was standing at a bus stop waiting to go home.”

Mr Hawthorne said his client accepted he “became obsessed” about the man.

Cooke was detained under the mental health act when he was 17 after he was convicted of affray and possessing an offensive weapon.

But when he was released, he stopped seeing his GP and ignored any “alarm bells”.

The court heard Cooke wanted to be sentenced after spending 10 months in custody.

Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Ian Young said: “It was only thanks to a quick-thinking member of the public that police were alerted to Cooke.

“We would always encourage people to come forward if they think they have seen something they feel is not quite right.

“Thankfully no-one was injured and this man has now been taken off our streets.”

Liverpool Echo

Michale Kearns was jailed for Bold Street attack on anti-fascists

Michael Kearns, 43 of Dovecot Ave, Dovecot

Michael Kearns, 43 of Dovecot Ave, Dovecot

A Liverpool man jailed this week over a £5m drugs plot has links to the same extremist group involved in violent scenes on the steps of St George’s Hall.

Michael Kearns was part of a right-wing gang that caused a mass brawl in Liverpool city centre when they attacked anti-fascists in 2013.

After serving time for his role in that skirmish he is now back behind bars after cops busted the drugs operation he was part of.

Kearns, 43, was one of 13 men sentenced to a total of more than 60 years on Thursday for their involvement in cocaine and amphetamine plots.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the drugs gang used ‘apparently harmless’ middle-aged people driving cars and caravans to try and avoid the attention of cops.

Kearns was caught with others members of the group with 227g of 83 per cent pure cocaine while travelling on the M6.

He was jailed for five years and four months.

Now, the ECHO can reveal the 43-year-old was among a group of far-right activists that targeted anti-fascist rivals in a violent attack on Bold Street back in 2013.

Shoppers watched in horror as the men punched and kicked people heading for a fundraising gig at the News From Nowhere Bookshop.

The trouble then spilled into Cafe Tabac, with CCTV of the brawl showing diners being forced to flee the trouble.

Kearns, of Dovecot Avenue, was described as being ‘in the thick’ of the violence by Judge Robert Trevor-Jones.

Then – handing him 14 months for violent disorder as he sentenced the group – the judge added: “All of you were either members of, or have associations with, groups which happen to hold right-wing views or positions whether it be the National Front, English Defence Force or North West Infidels.

“It is that common factor which brought you all together on Bold Street that evening because you had been made aware there was to be some form of anti-fascist meeting.”

The North West Infidels were the extremist group behind last month’s Liverpool city centre rally that saw trouble flare between the right-wing gang and anti-fascist rivals.

While Kearns is thought to have been in custody during February’s demonstration, it is believed Blackburn-based Shane Calvert was among those who took part.

The 34-year-old was jailed alongside Kearns for violent disorder in relation to the Bold Street incident.

Liverpool Echo

Shaun Jones, 19, of Haydn Road, West Derby, jailed for nine years for sex attacks on girl, 12,

Shaun Jones, 19, of Haydn Road, West Derby, jailed for nine years for sex attacks on girl, 12,

A Merseyside army cadet sergeant who groomed, exploited and raped a vulnerable 12-year-old schoolgirl was today jailed for nine years.

Predator Shaun Jones manipulated and humiliated his child victim as he carried out a string of vile sex attacks when he was aged 17.

Jones, of Haydn Road, West Derby, was today locked up on his 19th birthday after admitting a raft of 20 sex offence charges.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Jones’s victim became “infatuated” and “obsessed” after he put her “under his spell”.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, said: “You took away her innocence, you took away her childhood, you took away her virginity.

“You sexually assaulted her in a variety of different ways over a period of time.

“I am quite satisfied that you were manipulating her and were doing so for your own sexual gratification.”

The court heard how Jones made the girl perform sex acts upon him, raped her, and indecently attacked the youngster in public.

He also demanded the girl send x-rated images and video of herself, and sent explicit ones in return.

The youngster told police that Jones had made her “fall in love” with him, even though she “didn’t want to be”.

She told officers: “I knew it wasn’t right. I knew I shouldn’t be doing it but I became obsessed with him.”

The girl also said she blamed herself and believed what happened to her was her own fault.

But Judge Aubrey said: “She was wrong about that. It wasn’t her fault at all.

“It was yours, in consequence of your grooming, your exploitation.

“That observation by her illustrates the psychological harm and the scars you have left.

“She was the victim, you were the perpetrator.”

The court heard that the girl was undergoing counselling and had become withdrawn, often locking herself in her bedroom.

Judge Aubrey said she had suffered “everlasting and permanent” damage.

Robert Wyn Jones, defending, said Jones was remorseful and had tried to take his life while on remand in prison.

He said his client had “excelled” while in the cadets.

Mr Wyn Jones said: “He tells me there have been suicide attempts while at Altcourse, so to a degree he is a vulnerable young man.

“But I can’t press that too far because he initiated the relationship and persisted in it.

“He has asked me to apologise on his behalf.”

Jones was also indefinitely banned from associating with children and changing his name under the terms of a sexual harm prevention order.

Liverpool Echo

Jones was part of the Liverpool Scouse Nationalists, one of the various splinter groups. Thanks to the North West Infidels for bringing it to our attention.

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Five people were found guilty of a public order offence after a controversial Irish and trade unionist march through Liverpool city centre.

The four men and one woman had all denied the charge when they appeared before District Judge Richard Clancy at Liverpool magistrates’ court.

But after a two-day trial, Mr Clancy found Paul Harrison, 31, of Windbourne Road, Aigburth ; Jason Aspinall, 41, of Cherry Lane, Walton ; Jonathan Halvorsen, 22, of Wentworth Drive, Everton ; and married couple Margaret Anders, 24, and Paul Anders, 26, of Northumberland Street, Toxteth , guilty of the charge.

They were arrested after failing to comply with a notice which required counter-protesters at the James Larkin march last July to assemble in a designated spot away from the route of the parade.

Demonstrators were told at the start of the march that they would be liable for arrest if they protested during the procession, which in previous years had been marred by scenes of public disorder.

All five of the accused were warned by officers on separate occasions during the course of the march, culminating in their arrest as it made its way along Hanover Street and The Strand.

In the case of Harrison, Aspinall, and Halvorsen, they were “chanting and gesticulating” towards the marchers in Hanover Street.

Paul and Margaret Anders, meanwhile, shouted abuse towards the parade as it made its way along The Strand.

The James Larkin march has attracted controversy from some factions who claim it is a front for Irish republicanism.

Mr Clancy said in his summing-up: “Clearly there are some feelings in this matter. You weren’t happy with the situation and you wanted to protest.

“People have the right to protest, but it has to be peaceful. We are dealing with a potential disorder situation.”

After a means assessment was carried out, Harrison and Halvorsen were each fined £100 for the offence, while Aspinall, Margaret and Paul Anders were each fined £75.

They were also ordered to pay prosecution costs.

Chief Superintendent Jon Ward, Area Commander for Liverpool North, said: “Merseyside Police is committed to ensuring that people have the right to conduct legitimate marches in the city without fear of interference, or prejudice.

“In the past marches by some groups have attracted interest from opposition groups intent on causing problems and disrupting peaceful marches through the city through the use of intimidation.

“When the Larkin March took place earlier this year we were determined to ensure that the event would take place without incident and invested significant resources in to policing the march. The force used the Section 14 powers for the first time to prevent any problems and as a result a number of people who refused to adhere to the conditions were arrested and charged.

“The sentencing at court today supports the actions taken by Merseyside Police on the day of the march and hopefully sends out a strong message for similar marches in the future.”

Liverpool Echo

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith

The final man out of a group of seven far right sympathisers who beat up anti-fascist demonstrators in Liverpool was jailed after failing to turn up at his original hearing.

Nathan Smith, 21, was jailed for 14 months after admitting violent disorder and given an extra month for breaching his bail conditions.

On Thursday six men, said to be members or sympathisers of far right groups including the British National Party (BNP), were jailed for between nine and 17 months after they attacked a group of people headed for a benefit gig at News From Nowhere on Bold Street in July 2012.

Smith, of North Road, St Helens, failed to attend and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Police picked him up at his home later that evening.

Patrick McLoughlin, defending, told the court that he had got his dates mixed up despite his mum being present at court on the right day.

He said Smith, an almost-qualified central heating engineer, originally from Huyton, had found his life going in a “reverse direction” after his parents split up and found support in the “family of the BNP”.

Smith was one of the men in the thick of the fighting which crashed into cafe Tabac on Bold Street on July 6 last year and was caught on camera punching and kicking at least two victims, one of whom was on the floor.

Judge Robert Trevor Jones, said: “The violence that was accepted yesterday when I sentenced your co-accused was unplanned but of course it was always going to be a volatile situation with a confrontation between two groups with opposing views.”

He added that Smith was “fairly and squarely” involved in the fighting.

Liverpool Echo