Man accused of antisemitic coronavirus hoax wears Nazi armband at court hearing

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Man accused of antisemitic coronavirus hoax wears Nazi armband at court hearing

Matthew Henegan, 35, faces seven charges of publishing, distributing and possessing the offensive material

Lady Justice (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)
Lady Justice (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)

A man accused of spreading antisemitic coronavirus hoax material to “stir up racial hatred” has appeared at the Old Bailey wearing a Nazi armband.

Matthew Henegan, 35, faces seven charges of publishing, distributing and possessing of material in March and April.

The defendant, who is on bail, appeared at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing before Mr Justice Sweeney.

He wore dark glasses, a hairband and a red swastika armband associated with Nazi Germany as he walked into the dock.

The judge asked lawyer Harry Grayson: “Can you see what he’s wearing?”, before sending the defendant out of the courtroom.

Henegan said: “Are we done for the day then?”

The judge replied: “We are not.”

The defendant complained: “I have a right to freedom of expression, freedom of dress, freedom of religion. They are rights not for debate.”

The judge told his lawyer to give his client advice, adding: “Next time it will not be out in the public corridor.”

Henegan returned to court wearing a large blue padded jacket and the armband was no longer visible.

He stood in the dock to confirm his name and date of birth.

Henegan is accused of publishing and distributing material on a website relating to a “coronavirus hoax” to stir up racial hatred.

It is claimed he also distributed leaflets around St Neots in Cambridgeshire where he lives.

He is further accused of having a document entitled How To Make Armour Piercing Bullets containing information likely to be useful to terrorism.

Mr Justice Sweeney set a pre-trial hearing date of March 12; with a provisional trial at the Old Bailey on November 8 next year.

The defendant was granted continued bail.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: