National Action trial: Three guilty of neo-Nazi group membership

Image source, West Mids Police
Image caption, Claudia Patatas and Adam Thomas named their baby Adolf out of "admiration" for Hitler

A couple who named their baby after Adolf Hitler have been found guilty of being members of a banned terrorist group.

Adam Thomas, 22, and Claudia Patatas, 38, from Banbury, along with Daniel Bogunovic, 27, from Leicester, were convicted of being in National Action.

Birmingham Crown Court heard the couple gave their child the middle name Adolf in honour of the Nazi leader.

Jurors saw images of Thomas in Ku Klux Klan robes while cradling his baby.

The Neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action, founded in 2013, was outlawed under anti-terror legislation three years later after it celebrated the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.

'White supremacy'

Prosecutors said the Midlands chapter of the group "shed one skin for another" and "rebranded" after being banned.

They said the case was about "a specific type of terror... born out of fanatical and tribal belief in white supremacy".

Thomas told the court that the pictures showing him wearing KKK clothing were "just play", but he admitted being a racist.

Thomas was also found guilty of having a copy of terrorist manual the Anarchist Cookbook.

Image source, West Mids Police
Image caption, Daniel Bogunovic, Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas stayed in National Action after it was banned

Thomas and Patatas had two machetes, one with a serrated 18in (46cm) blade, in the bedroom where their baby son slept.

A police search of their home in January also found one of two crossbows just a few feet from the baby's crib, the jury was told.

Also found was a pastry cutter shaped like a swastika in a kitchen drawer, as well as pendants, flags and clothing emblazoned with symbols of the Nazi-era SS and National Action.

Barnaby Jameson QC, prosecuting, said a deleted Skype log was recovered from Thomas's laptop.

He said the messages sent between two parties spoke of National Action being "destroyed", with its leaders agreeing to disband with "no attempt at revival".

National Action

  • The group was founded in 2013 by Ben Raymond, now 29, and Alex Davies, now 24
  • It was intended to be an explicitly neo-Nazi party
  • Raymond was a politics graduate from the University of Essex, and Davies was a Welsh former member of the British National Party
  • National Action shunned democratic politics, regarding itself instead as a youth-based street movement
  • It is believed it never had more than 100 members
  • Its activities involved leafleting university campuses, aggressive publicity stunts and city-centre demonstrations
  • In 2015, 25-year-old member Zack Davies used a hammer and machete to attack a Sikh dentist and was jailed for attempted murder
  • After the murder of Jo Cox in 2016, an official National Action Twitter account posted: "Only 649 MPs to go #WhiteJihad"
  • The group was banned later that year after the government concluded it was "concerned in terrorism"
  • It became the first far-right group to be proscribed in this country since World War Two

Reading from the log, Mr Jameson said: "But the Midlands branch of NA, which is just 17-20 of us, have decided to ignore this and we've renamed ourselves the Thule Combat League.

"Traitors. Midlands will continue the fight alone."

Jurors reached unanimous verdicts after 12 hours of deliberating. The three defendants will be sentenced on 14 December.

Patatas was given bail, while Thomas and Bogunovic were remanded in custody.

Earlier this year Darren Fletcher, 28, from Wolverhampton; Nathan Pryke, 27, from March, Cambridgeshire; and Joel Wilmore, 24, from Stockport; also pleaded guilty to being in National Action.

Image source, West Mids Police/PA
Image caption, Jurors were shown a picture showing Adam Thomas in the robes of the Ku Klux Klan
Image source, West Mids Police/PA
Image caption, A swastika-shaped pastry cutter was found in the home of Patatas and Thomas

Det Ch Supt Matt Ward, from West Midlands Police, said the defendants "were not simply racist fantasists; we now know they were a dangerous, well-structured organisation".

He added: "Their aim was to spread neo-Nazi ideology by provoking a race war in the UK, and they had spent years acquiring the skills to carry this out.

"Unchecked, they would have inspired violence and spread hatred and fear across the West Midlands."

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the convictions were a "significant success" for the police.

He said: "We are determined to tackle the threat presented by extreme right-wing terrorism, as we are all forms of terrorism, which is why this government banned National Action in 2016."

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