Neo-Nazi group founder had links to MP murder plotter, court hears

Ben Raymond, 32, is accused of setting up the National Action group to wage a 'white Jihad' and race war in Britain

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The alleged co-founder of a banned neo-Nazi group had links to a convicted terrorist who was jailed for plotting to murder an MP, a court heard.

Ben Raymond, 32, is accused of setting up the National Action group to wage a “white Jihad” and race war in Britain.

Bristol Crown Court heard he was linked to Jack Renshaw who was jailed for life in 2019 after admitting plotting to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper.

National Action was established in 2013 by Raymond, who became the group’s propaganda chief.

It was banned under terror legislation in 2016 – joining the likes of the IRA, Isis and al Qaida – and becoming the first far-right group proscribed since the British Union of Fascists in 1940.

Barnaby Jameson QC, prosecuting, said Raymond had attended a rally in Liverpool in 2016 at which Renshaw publicly called for the murder of Jews.

“Jack Renshaw was at the Battle of Liverpool standing two away from the defendant,” Mr Jameson said.

“The same Jack Renshaw called publicly for the eradication of the Jews in speeches in Liverpool and Blackpool in February and March 2016 and the defendant had a link to one of the speeches.”

Jurors were told Renshaw admitted meeting other convicted members of National Action at a pub in Warrington in July 2017 – more than six months after the group was proscribed – and was part of his plot to murder the West Lancashire MP.

“The meeting showed that National Action was not just alive but kicking as there was a plot to attack an MP, admitted by Jack Renshaw,” Mr Jameson said.

The court heard that Raymond belonged to a chat group on the Telegram messaging app, called Triple K Mafia.

In the aftermath of the murder of MP Jo Cox, members discussed which politician would be killed next – settling on Shabana Mahmood, the MP for Birmingham Ladywood.

The prosecution allege Raymond was the “public face” of National Action and focused on leadership, ideology and producing images.

It is claimed that after the group was outlawed in December 2016, it morphed into a new group called NS131 – National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action – which Raymond was involved with.

He was also accused of creating images for the Midlands-based KKK Mafia.

In a series of messages, Raymond praised Eliot Rodger who killed six people and injured 14 others during a terror attack in California in 2014.

He told the Triple K Mafia group in February 2017: “You don’t need to trick a woman, Eliot Rodger was right, we need to put all the thots in camps and start civilization again.”

He went on: “He was a prophet.

“He knew the truth about thots and had to act. He knew before anyone else. He had to stop it, his sacrifice won’t go in vain.”

Days later, Raymond recommends switching to an app called Wire, which he said had better security and messages are deleted after a day.

In May of that year, another National Action member Alex Deakin was arrested in connection with an incident where stickers were placed around Aston University in Birmingham.

Several electronic devices were seized, and after Deakin was released on bail, he sent an email to an associate in which he apologies for his “sloppiness”.

“I need to call Ben if you have his phone number just to talk over things. There is probably stuff I missed and will go over at a later point,” he wrote.

“I can understand if you despise me for this sloppiness (It couldn’t be any worse if I tried) but I really need you to get back to me as soon as possible and advises me on what to do.”

Mr Jameson said: “You will need to consider who the reference to Ben is. What it was that Alex Deakin felt he needed to call Ben in the circumstances?”

Raymond, of Beechcroft Road, Swindon, Wiltshire denies seven offences – one of membership of a proscribed organisation contrary to Section 11 of the Terrorism Act and six of possessing a document or record of use to a terrorist contrary to Section 58 of the Act.

According to the charges, the material includes documents entitled “Ethnic Cleaning Operations”, “2083 – European Declaration of Independence by Andrew Berwick”, “Homemade Detonators by Ragnar Benson”, “TM 31-210 Improvised Munitions Handbook”, “Homemade Molotov Cocktail” and “Cluster Bomb”.

The trial continues.