Jewish representatives have welcomed the jailing of a neo-Nazi ringleader for eight years amid warnings that far-right thugs now “take inspiration from jihadists”.
The reaction followed news of the custodial sentence handed to Christopher Lythgoe, 32, who leads white nationalist group National Action, which was proscribed in December 2016 after it supported the murder of MP Jo Cox.
Lythgoe was accused of giving permission to Jack Renshaw, 23, to murder Rosie Cooper, a Labour MP in Liverpool, with Renshaw subsequently buying a 19-inch machete for the purpose, but a jury found him not guilty of the charge.
He was however convicted of belonging to a proscribed organisation, along with Matthew Hankinson, 24, from Merseyside, who was described as Lythgoe’s second-in-command, and who called for “race traitors” to be hanged from lampposts.
Lythgoe rose from being National Action’s north-west organiser to become its national leader, and jurors were shown decrypted messages from him in 2016 discussing how to bypass the forthcoming ban of the group, which the Home Office said “promotes the idea that Britain will inevitably see a violent race war”.
Similarly, they were shown a USB stick found at Hankinson’s address, which contained text from an interview which reads: “We fight for the racial survival of our people, for blood and soil. We are not Shabbos goyim, we are not good cattle to be commanded. We must secure the existence of our people.”
The judge at the Old Bailey sentenced Lythgoe to eight years in prison and Hankinson to six, saying the group held a “truly evil and dystopian vision”.
A spokesman for the Community Security Trust (CST) welcomed the verdict, adding: “It is vitally important that our Jewish community, and wider society in general, understand that terrorism now comes in many forms, including neo-Nazis who take sick inspiration from Jihadi terrorists.”