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'National Action member' pleads guilty to Labour MP murder plot

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  • Group of six men were due to begin trial over alleged plot to kill MP today
  • One of the men has admitted a terror offence by buying a knife for the attack
  • He bought 19-inch machete with 'unprecedented piercing and slashing power'
  • Court told of speeches in which Renshaw praised Hitler and railed against Jews
  • Five others deny offences at an ongoing trial at London's Old Bailey 

By Richard Spillett, Crime Correspondent For Mailonline

Published: 07:07 EDT, 12 June 2018 | Updated: 14:13 EDT, 12 June 2018

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A neo-Nazi who plotted to murder a Labour MP in the name of 'White Jihad' was encouraged to attack the then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd, a court has heard.  

Jack Renshaw, 23, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, bought a 19inch long 'Gladius Machete' to kill Labour's Rosie Cooper last summer. 

He planned to take hostages after the murder and lure a woman police officer to the scene so he could kill her too, jurors were told.    

Alleged National Action leader Christopher Lythgoe encouraged Renshaw to target former Home Secretary Amber Rudd - but Renshaw considered her too well protected, a court heard.

Alleged National Action member Jack Renshaw  has admitted plotting to murder a Labour MP
Alleged National Action member Jack Renshaw  has admitted plotting to murder a Labour MP

Alleged National Action member Jack Renshaw  has admitted plotting to murder a Labour MP

The Old Bailey heard that, during a meeting in a Warrington pub, Lythgoe gave him permission to murder Ms Cooper, but added she was 'a nobody' and that the 23-year-old should instead attack Ms Rudd, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC told the Old Bailey: 'Lythgoe advised Renshaw to destroy all of his electrical equipment before the attack, so the police could not link him to individuals.

'Lythgoe then gave him permission to conduct the attack, warning him "don't f*** it up".

'Lythgoe commented that Rosie Cooper MP was a nobody and Renshaw should attack the Home Secretary instead, Renshaw dismissed this idea saying the Home Secretary would be too well protected.'  

The murderous scheme was foiled by a disenchanted former National Action member called Robbie Mullen, who reported the threat to Hope Not Hate, jurors were told.

On the opening day of his trial, Renshaw pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism as well as making a threat to kill Detective Constable Victoria Henderson, who was involved in investigating him over child grooming claims, the court heard.

Alleged National Action member Jack Renshaw (pictured in a court sketch) has admitted plotting to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper
Alleged National Action member Jack Renshaw (pictured in a court sketch) has admitted plotting to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper
Alleged members of far-Right group National Action have gone on trial over an alleged plot to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper
Alleged members of far-Right group National Action have gone on trial over an alleged plot to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper

Renshaw (pictured, left, in a court sketch) saw Labour MP Rosie Cooper (right) as a target because of her perceived support for immigration, the court heard

Renshaw denies being a member of National Action, along with Lythgoe and four other men: Garron Helm, 24, of Seaforth, Merseyside, Matthew Hankinson, 24, of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, Andrew Clarke, 33, and Michal Trubini, 35, both of Warrington.

Lythgoe, 32, from Warrington, also denies being involved in the plot to murder the West Lancashire MP. 

Prosecutor Mr Atkinson told jurors: 'It is important to recognise from the outset that these defendants are not being prosecuted for their racist or neo-Nazi beliefs, however repulsive they may be, but for their participation in a banned organisation that sought actively through fear, intimidation and the threat of violence rather than through free speech and democracy to shape society.'

National Action wanted to attack Amber Rudd, the trial was told today
National Action wanted to attack Amber Rudd, the trial was told today

National Action wanted to attack Amber Rudd, the trial was told today

He told jurors the group had engaged in a 'campaign of virulent anti-Semitic and homophobic propaganda' since 2013.

The organisation tried to recruit and radicalise young people through violent images and 'hate-filled language', the prosecutor said.

Its support for the murder of MP Jo Cox in June 2016 led to it being banned, Mr Atkinson said. But the defendants remained active members of the organisation after it was proscribed, he said. 

On July 1 last year, Renshaw revealed his murderous plan to National Action members at a meeting in Warrington, the court heard.

He allegedly told members he had already bought a machete marketed as offering '19 inches of unprecedented piercing and slashing power at a bargain price'.

The jury was told that Renshaw had also researched 'cutting the jugular artery' on the internet last May.

Garron Helm, Michal Trubini, Andrew Clarke, Matthew Hankinson and Christopher Lythgoe are also on trial. They deny charges
Garron Helm, Michal Trubini, Andrew Clarke, Matthew Hankinson and Christopher Lythgoe are also on trial. They deny charges

Garron Helm, Michal Trubini, Andrew Clarke, Matthew Hankinson and Christopher Lythgoe are also on trial. They deny charges

Mr Atkinson said: 'Renshaw's plan had a more sophisticated dimension in that its objective was not simply to make a political point, as he put it to 'kill for National Action and White Jihad', but to revenge himself on those he considered to be persecuting him and trying to send him to prison for a significant period.

'Renshaw explained that after killing Rosie Cooper MP, he would take some people hostage and would then demand of the police when they attended that DC Henderson come to the scene.

'His plan then would be to kill that officer who was, he said, his real target.'

The court was also told about Renshaw's speech at the Yorkshire Forum for Nationalists, where he talked of 'the importance of the killer instinct', insisted anti-Semitic views are 'natural', that Hitler was 'too merciful' and of a 'holy war against the Jews'.

In a second speech, in Blackpool in 2016, Renshaw argued that Britain fought on the wrong side during World War Two and should have fought the Soviets instead of Nazi Germany.

The court heard  the North West area branch of National Action which met at the Friar Penketh pub in Warrington
The court heard  the North West area branch of National Action which met at the Friar Penketh pub in Warrington

The court heard the North West area branch of National Action which met at the Friar Penketh pub in Warrington

He was arrested on 11 January 2017 on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred because of his remarks.

National Action organised various marches throughout the country, including an attempted 'White Man March' in Liverpool on 15 August 2015, where supposed founder Alex Davies told members to wear all black and bring a 'heavy-duty belt with heavy buckle' to deal with counter-protesters, Mr Atkinson said.

During another demonstration outside St George's Hall in Liverpool the group clashed with opposing demonstrators, and Lythgoe, Hankinson, Helm and Mullen performed Nazi salutes while dressed in dark clothing, the court heard.

Who are the 'National Action' accused? 

Christopher Lythgoe, 32, from Warrington, is said by prosecutors to have been the leader of National Action and vowed to continue the group even after it was banned.

Jurors heard he had sent out emails about physical training in preparation for the 'race war', demonstrations and the structure of the organisation.

He allegedly gave permission for the attack on and murder of Labour MP Rosie Cooper. He denies the charges.

Jack Renshaw, 23, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, is the member who came up with the plan to kill Labour MP Rosie Cooper and a police officer.

He hatched the violent plan following his arrest in January last year on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred.

He was interviewed by the police he planned to kill about two anti-Semitic speeches in Blackpool and at the Yorkshire Forum for Nationalists in which he claimed 'Hitler was right'.

The prosecutor said his online postings 'were dripping with hatred of Jews and other ethnic minorities and those he saw as fostering multiculturalism'.

Renshaw pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism as well as making a threat to kill Detective Constable Victoria Henderson. But he denies being a member of National Action.

A court sketch produced today shows (left to right) Garron Helm, Michal Trubini, Andrew Clarke, Matthew Hankinson, Christopher Lythgoe and Jack Renshaw
A court sketch produced today shows (left to right) Garron Helm, Michal Trubini, Andrew Clarke, Matthew Hankinson, Christopher Lythgoe and Jack Renshaw

A court sketch produced today shows (left to right) Garron Helm, Michal Trubini, Andrew Clarke, Matthew Hankinson, Christopher Lythgoe and Jack Renshaw

Matthew Hankinson, 24, who lived in Newton Le Willows, Merseyside, had a USB stick containing a series of documents showing his commitment to National Action, Mr Atkinson said.

One such document was text from a speech in which he said that 'a war is brewing', which he made clear was going to be a race war, the court heard.

Also at his address were the text of further speeches, National Action flyers, flags and a National Action card.

His iPhone contained anti-Semitic images, the court heard. He denies being part of National Action.

Andrew Clarke used encrypted Tutanota email addresses to communicate with fellow alleged National Action members, and had anti-Semitic material in his Instagram account, the court was told.

His phone included a post about a news article called 'National Action, Islam and Britain's lamentable terrorism priorities' where Clarke commented: 'Someone on our side finally has the balls to speak out in defence of NA,' the court heard.

The 33-year-old, of Warrington, also denies being part of the banned organisation.

Michael Trubini, who was born in Slovakia on 6 August 1992, allegedly had a Nazi flag and National Action skull mask and leaflet at his home in Warrington.

The 35-year-old was involved in attempting to set up a 'National Action' gym before the group was banned, the court was told.

He also denies being part of the organisation.

Garron Helm's Samsung phone contained an image of him wearing a National Action skull mask standing in front of a Nazi banner.

Helm, 24, of Seaforth, Merseyside, also had a photograph of Hitler above his fireplace, as well as a National Action sticker, card and t-shirt, the court heard.

He also denies being part of the organisation. 

What is National Action and when was the neo-Nazi terror group formed?

National Action was the first extreme right-wing group to be proscribed since World War Two, and the 85th group to be proscribed in the UK.

It was most likely co-founded by Benjamin Raymond and Alex Davies in 2013 and operated by targeting university campuses as sites for flyering and recruitment in its 'reign of terror'.

It was an uncompromising Neo-Nazi group that expressed virulent hatred for non-whites and 'especially Jews', glorifying Hitler and inciting violence against its perceived enemies, the court heard.

Trial prosecutor Mr Atkinson said its logo bore a 'striking similarity' to the badge of the Sturmabteilung - Nazi Germany's 'SA'.

Lythgoe acted as leader, with Hankinson responsible for security and Renshaw as one of the group's spokesmen, it is alleged.

They recruited via close friendship networks or by word of mouth, mever exceeding 100 members with no more than two or three dozen attendees at each rally, jurors heard.

In September 2013 the group released a 'Strategy and Promotion' document detailing their plans to 'make way for National Socialism to enter British politics.'

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By Shawn Arnette 12/06/2018 14:13:00