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UK News Racist student sprayed swastika to commemorate Hitler's birthday

21:45  02 december  2019
21:45  02 december  2019 Source:   walesonline.co.uk

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A racist student deliberately targeted a Stand Up To Racism march in Cardiff and sprayed a swastika on the Senedd to commemorate Adolf Hitler ’ s birthday . Elliott Richards-Good was sent to a young offender institution for 16 months after he admitted a string of offences which related to stirring

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A racist student deliberately targeted a Stand Up To Racism march in Cardiff and sprayed a swastika on the Senedd to commemorate Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

Elliott Richards-Good was sent to a young offender institution for 16 months after he admitted a string of offences which related to stirring up hatred.

Speaking at Cardiff Crown Court , prosecutor James Wilson said: “The offending relates to involvement with the extreme far-right group System Resistance Network (SRN).”

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The court heard SRN is an emerging far-right movement, which has links to groups including National Action, but is not yet subject to a UK Government banning order.

Mr Wilson said Richards-Good moved to Cardiff as a student in October 2017 and almost immediately became involved with group.

Prosecutors said he bought a gay pride flag and soon afterwards the group released a propaganda video showing the flag set alight.

The court heard Richards-Good went to Grangetown in the early hours of March 16, 2018 and put up “lion rises” posters in Grange Gardens, Tudor Street, Clare Road and Ferry Road.

He sprayed “Nazi zone” and a swastika on a small brick building in Grange Gardens, where an anti-racism march was due to take place that day.

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a large brick building with graffiti on the side of a house: The building in Grange Gardens © PA The building in Grange Gardens

He also put up posters saying: “Protect your children from degenerate scum.” And: “You are the resistance.”

Prosecutors said his activity was praised by Alex Davies, a founder of National Action, which was proscribed following the murder of MP Jo Cox.

The court heard the organisation had links with Vanguard Britannia, which rebranded as SRN after James Alex Fields, of Vanguard America, was jailed for life after driving into a crowd of protesters.

Joe Redmond, who organised the Stand Up To Racism march in Grangetown, said he thought the offending prevented some people from attending, as they did not feel safe.

Councillor Ali Ahmed, who represents Cathays on Cardiff council , said he had a phone call early that morning about the incident and was “shocked” by what he saw.

Councillor Lynda Thorne, of Grangetown, said the area is “very diverse” and some members of the local mosque approached her with concerns for the safety of their children following the incident.

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a sign on the side of a brick building: Richards-Good sprayed 'Nazi zone' © Greg Pycroft Richards-Good sprayed 'Nazi zone'

Prosecutors said Richards-Good had a conversation with another member using the Wire encrypted app about recruiting new members. Members had to be white, European and straight.

The court heard the defendant sprayed a swastika and the word “traitors” on the Senedd on April 20. Hitler was born on April 20, 1889.

Mr Wilson played footage the defendant recorded on his GoPro of himself sticking up racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic posters.

His footage was later used in a propaganda video posted on the SRN website on July 10, 2018.

South Wales Police launched an investigation and officers from the Wales Extremism Counter Terrorism Unit tracked him down.

He was arrested at his home in Cheltenham on September 20 last year and officers recovered spray paints, gloves and clothes linking him to the incidents.

Police found extreme right-wing books at his home, along with laptops and a computer containing encrypted applications and handwritten notes linked to the SRN.

These offenders were sent to prison last month:

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His GoPro still contained the incriminating footage and analysis of his phone showed he had been in contact with Austin Ross.

Ross, then 23, was jailed for six years in August 2018 for daubing swastikas and racist slogans across Newport .

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The court heard Richards-Good was interviewed by a psychiatrist and said he was not sorry for his actions, adding he was “intent on raising awareness”.

a man looking at the camera: Elliott Richards-Good © South Wales Police Elliott Richards-Good

Richards-Good, 20, from Cirencester Road in Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to 11 offences.

He admitted two counts of displaying written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, along with two counts of criminal damage.

He admitted five counts of possessing written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting with intent to display or distribute it and stir up racial hatred.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing written material intending to stir up racial hatred and hatred on grounds of sexual orientation.

Christopher Rees, defending, referred to his client’s “youth and immaturity” and told the court he had no previous convictions.

He drew the judge’s attention to a pre-sentence report, psychiatric report and large number of character references from family and friends.

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Mr Rees said: “He has come from a sheltered background and a good family. The defendant was naive, vulnerable and immature.”

The court heard he achieved GCSEs and A-levels before moving to Cardiff for university, but left after his first year.

Reports suggested he found it difficult to socialise and “felt alienated” while trying to fit in.

Mr Rees said Richards-Good became interested in politics in Year 11 around the time of the Brexit referendum and “felt disillusioned”.

Richards-Good, who has worked as a labourer since he was arrested, was diagnosed with autism and dyslexia.

Mr Rees said: “These views are not deep-rooted. He has removed himself from that world.”

Richards-Good filmed himself sticking up racist posters © South Wales Police Richards-Good filmed himself sticking up racist posters

Judge Eleri Rees quoted Lord Justice Rose: “[...] Racism must not be allowed to flourish.

“The message must be received and understood in every corner of our society, in our streets and prisons, in the services, in the workplace, on public transport, in public houses and clubs, that racism is evil. It is incompatible with democratic civilisation.

“The courts must do all they can, in accordance with Parliament’s recently expressed intention, to convey that message clearly by the sentences that they pass in relation to racially aggravated offences.”

She said Richards-Good was an “enthusiastic and active” member of SRN and his views were “still fairly entrenched”.

She sent him to a young offender institution for 16 months and made a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order.

Detective Superintendent Noel Harris, from the Wales Extremism Counter Terrorism Unit, said: "Cardiff is a welcoming and vibrant multicultural city and Richards-Goods’ abhorrent views and actions rightly caused great concern amongst the local community."

He added: “Richards-Good was actively recruiting others to join the SRN, who are extremely tech-savvy and go to great lengths to avoid detection by the authorities. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t follow his own advice and it was his own footage and material which helped convict him."

Det Supt Harris added: “Our communities are our eyes and ears and anyone with concerns about someone’s beliefs or behaviour is urged to report it. No report is a waste of our time. Please trust your instincts and tell us if something doesn’t feel right.”

Information can be reported to South Wales Police on 101, or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Reports can also be made online .

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