Lincolnshire

Army veteran jailed over 'sinister' anti-Jewish speech

The Cenotaph in Whitehall Image copyright PA
Image caption Jeremy Bedford-Turner delivered a speech at the Cenotaph in London in 2015

A far-right activist has been jailed for stirring up racial hatred after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) initially declined to prosecute him.

Jeremy Bedford-Turner, 48, of Lincoln, called for his "soldiers" to liberate England from "Jewish control" in a speech at London's Cenotaph in 2015.

The Army veteran was handed a year-long jail term at Southwark Crown Court.

The CPS reconsidered its decision after a legal challenge brought by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA).

Sentencing Bedford-Turner, of Rudgard Lane, Judge David Tomlinson described his 15-minute speech as "poisonous" and "sinister".

In the speech, which was made at a rally against a Jewish neighbourhood watch group on 4 July, Bedford-Turner said "let's free England from Jewish control. Let's liberate this land".

He added: "Listen, soldiers, listen to me. It's time to liberate our country."

Standing ovation

During his two-day trial, Bedford-Turner, who served in the Army for 12 years, admitted wanting all Jewish people to leave the UK.

Prosecutor Louis Mably QC said the defendant "despised" Jews and he was "absolutely obsessed".

Bedford-Turner, who speaks Pashtu and Arabic, bowed and saluted about 35 supporters who gave him a standing ovation as he was led to the cells.

A jury convicted him of one count of stirring up racial hatred following two hours of deliberation.

The CAA said the verdict was a "damning indictment" of the CPS and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders.

A CPS spokesman said the review followed its code for prosecutors.

"The CPS initially decided the evidential test set out in the code had not been met but agreed to reconsider the case after the High Court gave permission for a full judicial review of the original decision," he said.

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