Homeless man appears in court over terror offences and shul arson

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Homeless man appears in court over terror offences and shul arson

Tristan Morgan, 51,stood before Old Bailey judge after his arrest in 2018 over suspected attack at an Exeter synagogue

The outside of Exeter's old synagogue building
The outside of Exeter's old synagogue building

A homeless man from Devon has appeared at the Old Bailey charged with terrorism offences and synagogue arson.

Tristan Morgan, 51, stood before the Central Criminal Court judge in London on Friday following his arrest last year over the arson attack on an Exeter synagogue in July. His trial is now due to start on 1 July this year.

Alongside arson, he is charged with two offences contrary to the Terrorism Act, including encouraging terrorism and collecting information.

Matt Lawler, the local policing commander, said: “Since the fire at the synagogue in July last year, local officers, colleagues from counter-terrorism policing and the Crown Prosecution Service have worked together on a wide investigation.”

An Exeter Synagogue spokesman said members, who were able to hold services again by October, had been kept updated with details of the investigation and Morgan’s forthcoming trial.

He said holding services again “was a huge step in returning to a sense of normality,” and that “investigators, neighbourhood staff and partner agencies continue to work closely with the synagogue providing reassurance and support”.

He added: “When the fire occurred, the public, civic leaders and faith groups in the city all came together, and a collective message of support and tolerance was shared. That tremendous goodwill has continued since, and we should all be heartened by the genuinely positive way in which the community has responded.”

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