'Neo-Nazi' Leeds prison officer from Barnsley facing jail for possessing terrorist handbook

Ashley Podsiad-Sharp was convicted of possessing a terrorist handbook. Credit: Counter Terrorism Policing North East

A "neo-Nazi" prison officer from South Yorkshire is facing jail for possessing a terrorist handbook.

Ashley Podsiad-Sharp, who worked at HMP Leeds until his arrest last May, was found guilty of possessing a white supremacist handbook including advice on how to kill people on Thursday, 25 May.

The 42-year-old was cleared of a second charge of disseminating terrorist material at Sheffield Crown Court the next day. This allegation related to a link he had posted on a Telegram channel for members of the White Stag Athletics Club, which he founded, calling himself "Sarge".

The link was to the music of Mr Bond, a rapper who has been jailed in Austria after publishing versions of popular tunes overlaid with extreme right-wing, racist lyrics.

Prosecutors pointed out that one of these songs, a version of the tune Power Level, was played by murderer Stephan Balliet as he live-streamed the Halle Synagogue shootings in Germany in 2019.

The Mr Bond songs were played in court but Podsiad-Sharp told the jury they were comedic parodies that were designed to shock and not encourage terrorism.

Despite being cleared of this charge, the judge told Podsiad-Sharp that he would be jailed when he is sentenced on 21 July.

Judge Jeremy Richardson told him: "You have been convicted by the jury of a very serious criminal offence. Indeed, it is an offence related to terrorism.

"You had possession of an extremely detailed manual setting out the way in which terrorists could kill people, maim people and endeavour to avoid detection."

The judge stressed the detail contained in the White Resistance Manual, saying that the printed version he was given was two inches thick.

Podsiad-Sharp worked as a prison officer at HMP Leeds before he was arrested. Credit: PA

Judge Richardson told Podsiad-Sharp he wanted the Probation Service to assess whether he was considered a "dangerous offender" before he is sentenced.

He refused bail, saying he was concerned Podsiad-Sharp was a flight-risk.

The judge said: "You are married to a Polish national. You are an intelligent man and you are a resourceful man.

"There are real risks, so it seems to me, that you could leave the jurisdiction of this country."

He told Podsiad-Sharp: "There is but one sentence in a case of this kind and that is a sentence of imprisonment. The issue for me to decide is now long that sentence should be."

Podsiad-Sharp, from Barnsley, wore a blue-and-yellow Adidas track-suit top in court for the final verdicts.

He thanked the jury when he was acquitted of the final count and shouted "tell my wife I love her" as he left the dock.

During the trial, Denise Breen-Lawton, prosecuting, told jurors the White Resistance Manual was "clearly a terrorist manual".

She said the manual contained information on how to kill people, use various weapons, build bombs and evade the police.

She added that the document opens with a white supremacist mantra, calling for armed resistance to the "threat to the white race" from Jews and non-white people.

Podsiad-Sharp told the jury he was not aware the White Resistance Manual was on his computer, had not read it and had not understood what it was.

But the prosecutor said this was "utter nonsense" as it was securely stored in an encrypted "virtual safe" which was protected by passwords the defendant eventually provided to the police on the orders of a judge.

She said it was also copied to another hard drive and uploaded to file-sharing site Dropbox.

When she opened the case earlier this month, Ms Breen-Lawton said: "The defendant is a racist, homophobic, neo-Nazi terrorist. That is the prosecution case.

"He glorifies and idolises Adolf Hitler and everything that the Nazi movement stood for and is still standing for."

The jury heard how potential members of the White Stag Athletics Club were vetted with a questionnaire which included questions like "what do you believe happened in the Holocaust?" and "what do you envisage victory to look like?"

But Podsiad-Sharp told the court he had set up the club as he had experienced fitness training while dealing with prisoners and that there was "never any underlying terrorist aim".

Giving evidence, he told the jury he was "a Christian and a National Socialist", described himself as a "racial realist" and said "multiculturalism is not good".

Asked about the Holocaust, the defendant said he was a "revisionist and did not accept the orthodox position" and said that "there was very little evidence to support the Holocaust".

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