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  1. ITV Report

Neo-Nazi couple who named baby after Hitler convicted of belonging to terror group National Action

A “fanatical” neo-Nazi couple who named their baby son after Hitler have been convicted of membership of a terrorist group National Action.

Adam Thomas, 22, and Claudia Patatas, 38, were found guilty of being members of the extreme right-wing organisation which glorifies Hitler and the Third Reich, and was banned in 2016.

Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas' baby's middle name was Adolf. Credit: West Midlands Police/PA

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court was told the couple, of Waltham Gardens, Banbury, Oxfordshire, had given their child the middle name Adolf, which Thomas said was in “admiration” of Hitler.

Photographs recovered from their home also showed Thomas cradling his newborn son while wearing the hooded white robes of a Ku Klux Klansman (KKK).

Adam Thomas wearing the hooded white robe of a Ku Klux Klansman, holding his newborn baby at home Credit: West Midlands Police/PA
Thomas wearing the hooded white robes of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) while brandishing a machete in front of a KKK flag at his home. Credit: West Midlands Police/PA

Former Amazon security guard Thomas, formerly of Erdington in Birmingham, and Patatas, a photographer originally from Portugal, were found guilty after a seven-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

A third defendant, Daniel Bogunovic, of Crown Hills Rise, Leicester, was also convicted of being a member.

The warehouse worker was a leading figure in National Action’s Midlands chapter, the court heard.

Jurors were told Bogunovic already had a conviction from earlier this year for stirring up racial hatred after being part of a group that plastered Aston University, in Birmingham, with the group’s offensive stickers.

Daniel Bogunovic already had a conviction for stirring up racial hatred. Credit: West Midlands Police/PA

Thomas, a twice-failed Army applicant, was also convicted of having terrorist manual which contained instructions on making “viable” bombs.

Thomas and Patatas' home was also littered with Nazi symbols and deadly weapons.

Three other men who had been due to stand trial alongside the trio, admitted being National Action members before the trial began.

Thomas’s close friend Darren Fletcher, 28, of Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, West Midlands, Joel Wilmore, 24, of Bramhall Road, Stockport, Greater Manchester, and Nathan Pryke, 26, of Dartford Road, March, Cambridgeshire, all admitted National Action membership before the trial.

A Swastika pastry cutter found in Thomas and Patatas' home. Credit: West Midlands Police/PA

Prosecutors alleged that after being banned by the Government in December 2016, National Action simply “shed one skin for another” and “rebranded”, and that the six people continued to operate as "devoted members of the organisation", for example adopting different names such as the “Triple K Mafia” – a reference to the KKK in the US.

Messages shared amongst the group of six praised the Nazis, Hitler, the “final solution” (the genocide of Jews during the Second World War) and images included that of men dressed in paramilitary style clothes holding up or surrounded by National Action banners.

An axe and sheath found under a bed during searches of Thomas and Patatas' home. Credit: West Midlands Police/PA

The jury also heard that Thomas and Patatas plastered National Action stickers in public locations after the ban, while Bogunovic was calling for a “leadership” meeting in a chat group for senior members in April 2017.

During the trail, Thomas said his racist views began when he was just five and he was influenced by the "white power" skinhead band, Skrewdriver, which his stepfather was a member of.

All six people will be sentenced together in a two-day hearing on Friday, December 14, and Monday, December 17.

A crossbow found in Thomas and Patatas' home. Credit: West Midlands Police/PA

Following Monday's conviction, a leading counter-terrorist officer warned that the threat of far-right terrorism is getting "more organised and more sophisticated" by the day.

The result from Birmingham Crown Court means that 10 members have now been convicted, one of who was serving British soldier Mikko Vehvilainen, of Sennybridge Camp, Powys, Wales, who had served in Afghanistan.

The prosecutions are part of a drive to dismantle what Chief Superintendent Matt Ward called the "insidious" organisation, which used a slick social media operation and hands-on shock tactics and activism to push the idea of "race war" and violent extremism.

The comments of Ch Supt Ward echo those of Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, who last month told MPs that, of 17 terror attacks stopped by security services since March last year, four were extreme right-wing.

Mr Ward said: "We have always had far-right ideologies within the UK but I think what we've seen over recent years, they've become much more organised.

"The use of internet and online ways to actually connect people from different parts of the country together, connecting with organisations overseas, downloading information about weaponry and bomb-making...

"So they've come together, they're more organised, more sophisticated, there's a greater sense of ideology and a greater determination to actually go out there and cause significant harm.

"They're very dangerous and they continue to grow and, from a counter-terrorism policing point of view, we are devoting more and more resources, time and effort to be able to tackle them."

Ch Supt Ward continued that Monday's convictions had helped to "dismantle one terrorist cell operating in the Midlands.

"It doesn't mean there won't be others, and it doesn't mean they won't adopt different names and identities going forward.

"National Action - the Midlands chapter - is no more.

"National Action - the ideology, neo-Nazism, those seeking violent extremism - that's still prevalent, and we have to remain vigilant as both police and communities in being able to tackle that."