Cumbria

Ethan Stables trial: Neo-Nazi 'planned Pride event machete attack'

Ethan Stables Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Mr Stables researched weapons, including how to make his own explosives and firearms, the court heard.

A neo-Nazi's plan to attack people with a machete at a gay pride event was foiled after he told people about it on Facebook, a court heard.

Police were tipped off about Ethan Stables' plan to attack the New Empire pub in Barrow, Leeds Crown Court heard.

The 20-year-old from Barrow denies preparing an act of terrorism and threats to kill.

Prosecutors said the "white supremacist" had a "deep-seated hatred" of minorities, especially gay people.

Prosecutor Jonathan Sandiford, who described Mr Stables, of Egerton Court, as a neo-Nazi who supported Adolf Hitler, said the defendant intended to "launch a murderous attack" on various communities.

The jury heard that over seven months, Mr Stables researched weapons, including how to make his own explosives and firearms.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Ethan Stables was said to be enraged about a gay pride night being held at the New Empire

Mr Sandiford continued: "On 23 June (2017), the defendant became aware that the New Empire public house was going to host an LGBT event, a pride night, and he was enraged by that.

"He began to take photographs, reconnaissance of that public house with a view to launching an attack later that evening."

Mr Stables allegedly told members of a Nazi-themed Facebook chat group he planned to murder people at the pub - but one woman in Staffordshire who spotted the messages was so concerned she contacted police.

Cumbria Police arrested Mr Stables close to the pub at about 22:00, the moment they said he was carrying out his last act of reconnaissance before intending to return later with weapons, the jury was told.

But in a statement to the jury, Patrick Upward QC, defending, said his client was not a white supremacist but more a "fantasist".

He said Mr Stables' posts were vile, but added: "He never expected anyone to believe what he had to say."

He also told the jury the defendant has Asperger's Syndrome, a favourite uncle who is openly gay and a best friend who is black.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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