Two men accused of being members of a banned neo-Nazi group were sent an email urging them to “throw away or burn any memorabilia” following counter-terror raids, a court has heard.
Prosecutors claim the message sent to Garry Jack and Connor Scothern shows they were members of National Action in September 2017 – nine months after the organisation was outlawed.
A jury at Birmingham Crown Court heard the “wholly disingenuous” email was written by a man who has since been convicted of National Action membership.
Described in court as a “masterpiece of back-covering” the message was headed “Recent News” and read: “I am sure you have all heard the news that 4 men have been arrested on the grounds that they are members of the terrorist organisation NA.
“I can understand any concern this will raise since some of our members are ex-NA but I don’t think anyone should be worried since we are not associated with NA in any way.
“NA is a dead movement and due to the vile tweets posted by a few select members it was proscribed.”
Advising several recipients to distance themselves from the banned terror group, the message added: “Delete any affiliations you have to the group.
“Throw away or burn any memorabilia you are holding on to. If anyone is caught breaking the NA proscription or advocating for NA or even holding any NA memorabilia they will be kicked from the group.
“Stay safe and be smart. They are watching the far right’s every step now and if even one of us slips up it will cost all of us. This is an all for one and one for all situation.”
Jack and Scothern are on trial alongside Alice Cutter and her partner Mark Jones.
Cutter, 22, and Jones, 24, both of Mulhalls Mill, Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, deny being members of National Action between December 2016 and September 2017.
The Crown also alleges that Jack, 23, from Heathland Avenue, Shard End, Birmingham, and Scothern, 18, of Bagnall Avenue, Nottingham, belonged to the organisation between the same dates.
The third day of the trial was told Cutter, who is alleged to have been an entrant in a “Miss Hitler” contest in 2016, refused to answer questions after Nazi-themed items including earrings were found at her home.
Pictures of Cutter holding a firearm and posing beside a Nazi flag were shown to jurors, who were told that Jones and Jack also refused to answer questions put by counter-terror officers.
Scothern, the court heard, told police he had been a member of National Action as he had far-right views and he “liked their edginess”.
But he claimed he had de-radicalised himself and left the group the day before it was banned.
Jones and Jack both claim they were “committed and unapologetic” members of National Action but quit the organisation when it was banned.
Meanwhile, Cutter maintains she has never been a member of National Action, either before or after the ban.
Concluding his opening address, prosecutor Barnaby Jameson QC alleged: “The group that comprised National Action was a terrorist organisation to its core.
“It had had access to weapons, in the shape of guns, knives, machetes, knuckle-dusters, catapults, ice-picks and high velocity cross-bows.
“This was not, members of the jury, a talking shop. The Crown asserts that each defendant in this case was an integral part of a fellowship of hate.”
The trial continues next week.