Four jailed for neo-Nazi group membership

A “Miss Hitler” beauty pageant entrant and her ex-partner have been jailed for being members of the banned far-right terrorist group National Action.

Alice Cutter, 23, and Mark Jones, 25, were convicted of membership of a terrorist group in March, alongside co-accused Garry Jack and Connor Scothern.

National Action, founded in 2013, was outlawed in 2016 after it celebrated the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox.

Cutter was jailed for three years and Jones for five and a half years.

At Birmingham Crown Court, Jack, 24, was sentenced to four and a half years in prison and Scothern, 19, was detained for 18 months.

Judge Paul Farrer QC told Jones he had played “a significant role in the continuation of the organisation” after its ban in December 2016.

The judge told Cutter she “never held an organisational or leadership role” but said she was a “trusted confidante” of one the group’s leaders, as well as being in a “committed relationship” with Jones.

Cutter and Jones, both of Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax in West Yorkshire, were convicted along with Jack and Scothern at a trial in March.

The court heard Cutter had entered the Miss Hitler beauty pageant under the name Miss Buchenwald – a reference to the World War Two death camp.

She denied being a member of National Action, despite attending the group’s rallies, in which banners reading “Hitler was right” were raised.

Jurors were also shown messages in which Cutter joked about gassing synagogues, and using a Jew’s head as a football.

Image copyright West Midlands Police/PA Media

Image caption Jones and Cutter were described as key members of National Action

Jones, the group’s London regional organiser who later moved to Yorkshire, acknowledged posing for a photograph delivering a Nazi-style salute and holding a National Action flag in Buchenwald’s execution room during a trip to Germany in 2016.

He also organised members’ physical training.

Cutter was described at the sentencing as “an active member” of National Action by prosecuting barrister Barnaby Jameson.

He said frustration with a lack activism in her native Yorkshire led her to join their Midlands sub-group, whose membership was “determined to defy the ban”.

Jack, of Heathland Avenue in Shard End, Birmingham, appeared via video-link for the sentencing and was described by Mr Jameson as turning up to “almost every Midlands meet-up”.

He had previously been given a suspended jail term for plastering Birmingham’s Aston University campus with racially-aggravating National Action stickers in July 2016, some of which read: “Britain is ours, the rest must go.”

Jack wrote a letter to the judge stating: “I have turned my back on the far right.”

Image caption (L-R) Garry Jack, Connor Scothern and Daniel Ward were also convicted or pleaded guilty to being National Action members

Mr Jameson told the court Scothern, of Bagnall Avenue in Nottingham, was “one of the most active members of the group” who was “considered future leadership material”.

Another leading member once observed how Scothern had “driven himself into poverty” travelling to member meetings and self-funding 1,500 stickers, calling for a “Final Solution” – in reference to the Nazi’s genocide of Jewish people.

Gerard Hillman, defending Scothern, described him as vulnerable and “under the influence of others”.

A fifth man, Daniel Ward, 28 from Bartley Green in Birmingham, pleaded guilty to being a member of National Action last year and was jailed for three years.

Max Hill QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the group were “diehards in the way that they think”.

“They hark back to the days of not just anti-Semitism but the Holocaust, the Third Reich in Germany, and they take their mindset from those extreme Nazi groups and latterly neo-Nazi groups in Germany,” he said.

*story by BBC News