A former Miss Hitler beauty pageant contestant and her Nazi-admiring ex have been convicted of membership of banned extreme right group National Action.
Alice Cutter, 23, claimed she had been pestered by others into entering the competition under the name Miss Buchenwald – a reference to the Second World War death camp – during a lengthy retrial.
She flatly denied being a part of the group, which was labelled “a racist, antisemitic and homophobic organisation” by then home secretary Amber Rudd when it was banned in December 2016.
But jurors rejected her denials after hearing evidence, including how Cutter exchanged hundreds of messages, many racist and antisemitic, and was still meeting other members months after the ban.
Prosecutors said Cutter, who joked about gassing synagogues and using a Jew’s head as a football, had been a “central spoke” among the organisation’s hard-core, and entered the pageant to drive recruitment.
She claimed never to have considered herself a member, even before the ban, despite attending meetings with group leaders and posing for a Nazi-style salute on the steps of Leeds Town Hall in 2016.
Cutter also attended a demo in York in May 2016.
She initially denied attending until footage emerged showing her standing with other masked NA members, giving the Nazi salute behind a banner that read “Hitler Was Right”.
In one exchange with another National Action member on the day after MP Jo Cox was murdered, referencing the politician, she said: “Rot in hell, bitch.”
Her ex-partner 25-year-old Mark Jones, a former member of the British National Party’s youth wing, was also convicted of being a member, after being described by prosecutors as a “leader and strategist”.
During his evidence, he told jurors of his “feelings of admiration” for Hitler, while the court heard he had a special wedding edition of Mein Kampf.
Jones, who posted messages on Telegram as “GrandaddyTerror”, was National Action’s London regional organiser and a key designer of the group’s propaganda artwork.
He accepted posing for a photograph of him delivering a Nazi-style salute in Buchenwald’s execution room while holding a National Action flag, on a trip to Germany in April and May 2016.
Jones, who told jurors he carried out his death-camp salute as a “controversial statement”, also took a selfie inside the room holding the concentration camp’s ovens, where the remains of thousands of murdered Jews were incinerated.
Jones and Cutter, both of Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, Yorkshire, described themselves in court as avowed national socialists, but denied any wrong-doing.
However, the jury at Birmingham Crown Court found both unanimously guilty following a retrial, lasting 10 weeks, after less than nine hours of deliberations.
Having split up in the course of the trial proceedings, they embraced in the dock before being taken down to the cells.
Also convicted of the same offence were two other men; Garry Jack, 24, from Heathland Avenue, Shard End, Birmingham, and 19-year-old Connor Scothern, of Bagnall Avenue, Nottingham.
Jack was a footsoldier in the group, having joined six months before the ban.
He had denied taking a photograph found on his phone of graffiti reading “gas the Jews”, despite repeatedly using antisemitic slurs in message and chat-group exchanges with other members.
The self-confessed Nazi, who said he was against “cultural Marxism”, told jurors he considered himself a non-violent “liberal” in the pre-ban group.
Jack told jurors he was not a racist, despite sending a message saying “Handsworth – first area in Birmingham that needs ethnic cleansing”, claiming the remark had been “tongue in cheek”.
In a message to his then girlfriend, littered with racist language, he talked of threatening to have “kerb-stomped” a black person and, on another occasion, called an Asian male a “f***ing rat”.
Jack had been given a one-year suspended jail sentence for plastering Birmingham’s Aston University campus with racially-aggravating National Action stickers in July 2016, some of which read “Britain is ours, the rest must go”.
He planted the stickers with Alexander Deakin and Daniel Bogunovic, also since convicted of being group members, and another man, Chad Williams-Allen, of Bird End, West Bromwich.
Scothern, who was a one-time practising Muslim, and an Antifa – anti-fascist activist – before eventually joining National Action, did not give evidence at trial.
But in messages he sent following the ban in August 2017, he talked of setting up “a clear and openly fascist youth movement”.
He said: “Even if this land is lost, which I don’t think it is, I’d rather die than capitulate.”
Addressing the four, Judge Paul Farrer QC, said: “You have all been convicted of a serious terrorist offence.
“You cannot be sentenced today.
“A date will be be fixed in due course.”