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18th Jul 2018

Neo-Nazi convicted of preparing to murder Labour MP

Jack Renshaw has been found guilty of preparing an act of terrorism

Oli Dugmore

Jack Renshaw has been found guilty of preparing an act of terrorism

Neo-Nazi Jack Renshaw has been found guilty of preparing an act of terrorism and making threats to kill.

23-year-old Renshaw, from Skelmersdale in Lancashire, pleaded guilty to the charges, following a police investigation into a plot to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper. He bought a knife to kill the politician and threatened a police officer.

He was also convicted of inciting racial hatred in speeches given in 2016.

The jury could not reach a verdict over whether Renshaw was a member of banned neo-Nazi group National Action.

However the group’s leader, Christopher Lythgoe was sentenced to eight years in prison after he was found guilty of being a member of the group. Matthew Hankinson, 24, received a six year sentence for his membership too.

National Action were banned after they supported the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by Thomas Mair in 2016. The court heard that Lythgoe, 32, viewed her murder as a “little victory.”

Head of investigations for counter terrorism policing in the North West, detective superintendent Will Chatterton, said: “Today’s result has enabled the spotlight to be shone on the sickening activities of the banned extreme right-wing organisation National Action.

“During the trial, one of those jailed today stood before the court and openly denied the Holocaust had taken place – an unimaginably horrific event that resulted in the murder of millions of Jews at the hands of the Nazi regime.

“Today’s result is a body blow to extreme right-wing organisations such as National Action.

“It sends out a clear message that counter-terrorism officers and partner agencies will rigorously identify and investigate any violently extreme individual or group who seek to bring a reign of terror to our shores.”

Ms Cooper, who sat in court as the men were jailed, said in a statement: “I think it’s awful that any public servant – teacher, nurse, doctor, police, MP – should be targeted and threatened with violence simply because of the job they do.

“To that end, I’d like to thank Robbie Mullen, whose information saved my life.”

Labour MP Rosie Cooper

Robbie Mullen, a source for anti-fascism pressure group HOPE not Hate, alerted the authorities to stop the plot.

HOPE not Hate deputy director Jemma Levene said: “Renshaw planned to murder his local MP and a female police officer. He was stopped in his tracks by HOPE not Hate and the bravery of one of our sources, Robbie Mullen, who broke cover to tell the authorities about the plot.

“Additional information from Robbie has resulted in National Action leader Christopher Lythgoe receiving an eight year sentence for membership of a proscribed terrorist group.

“This case should remind everyone of the ongoing threat posed by the British far right. While numerically small and splintered, the British far right is growing in violence. This case has brought National Action to its knees, but we must remain vigilant to the far right’s ongoing threat. With such confrontational and violent rhetoric, much of it around an impending civil war, we can sadly expect others on the British far right to move towards terrorism.

“This case should also be a timely reminder about how antisemitism continues to be at the very heart of this movement. Renshaw was convicted earlier this year for vile antisemitic speeches. He told the court that he wanted to kill Rosie Cooper because she was the local representative of the Jewish-controlled state.

“Society owes a debt of gratitude to Robbie Mullen for the brave work he’s undertaken, at great sacrifice to himself. He had to walk out of his job, go into hiding and now has to spend the rest of his life knowing that there’s a target on his back. He knew the risks he was taking by stepping forward to give evidence, but he knew he had to save Rosie’s life.

“HOPE not Hate has been central to this story for more than a year now – from revealing the plot to the police through to giving evidence in court. We never stopped monitoring National Action, even after they were proscribed, so today’s conviction of Lythgoe and Matthew Hankinson was particularly pleasing.

“For legal reasons there’s a limit to what more we’re allowed to say about this case, but when we can update further we will.”