Anti-vaccine conspiracist from York jailed over plot to destroy 5G masts

Darren Reynolds and Christine Grayson met through an online chat forum. Credit: CTP North East

An anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist who plotted to destroy 5G masts has been jailed.

Christine Grayson, a 59-year-old grandmother, discussed "getting rid" of the mobile phone masts with expanding foam and angle grinders, after "becoming obsessed" with the belief that they were linked to the Covid-19 vaccine.

A judge at Leeds Crown Court said she was a "person of good character" and a regular charity fundraiser, but she started to post online about the dangers of 5G from 2021-22.

Judge Guy Kearl KC said that although Grayson "did not get beyond the planning stage", she chose to take the law into her own hands, discussing methods of removing them, saying she needed a "sabotage team", and posting videos of burning masts.

She was sentenced to 12 months in prison, with half to be served on licence, but will be released "almost immediately" after spending nine months in custody while on remand.

Crossbow found at home of Christine Grayson Credit: Counter Terrorism Police

Grayson's co-defendant Darren Reynolds, who had been cleared of conspiracy to commit criminal damage in relation to 5G masts, was jailed for 12 years, with an additional year on licence, after being found guilty of eight terrorist offences linked to his "extreme right wing, antisemitic and racist views".

The court heard Reynolds, 60, discussed armed uprisings and advocated violence towards people he called "traitors", including MPs.

He "applauded the callous murders" of MPs Jo Cox and Sir David Amess, Judge Kearl said.

Reynolds and Grayson called themselves "Bonnie and Clyde with a box of matches".

Lee Karu, mitigating on behalf of Reynolds, said this was a case of "free speech gone completely wrong and a line crossed".

But the judge said Reynolds "was well beyond that line," telling him: "This was not free speech. This was a persistent message of hatred and a deliberate call to arms."

Jurors found Reynolds guilty of encouraging terrorism with his online comments, and disseminating a terrorist publication by sharing a link to the neo-Nazi "White Alexandria's Library".

He was also convicted of six offences of possessing material likely to be useful to a person committing an act of terrorism, including a manual on how to build a .50 Browning calibre single shot rifle, and a document called How to Become an Assassin.

Opening the case to jurors in April, prosecutor Tom Storey said the defendants knew each other through the social media platform Telegram, of which both were regular users between 2020 and 2022.

Rifle found at home of Darren Reynolds in Sheffield Credit: Counter Terrorism Police

When police searched their addresses they found a crossbow and a number of crossbow bolts at Grayson's home, while at Reynolds' they discovered two replica assault rifles.

The court heard both defendants were strongly opposed to the rollout of the 5G network, and regarded 5G masts as pieces of "enemy infrastructure".

Grayson, of Boothwood Road, York, was convicted of one offence of conspiracy to commit criminal damage and cleared of one charge of encouraging terrorism.

Reynolds, of Newbould Crescent, Sheffield, was found guilty of one count of encouraging terrorism, one of disseminating a terrorist publication and six of possessing material likely to be useful to a person committing an act of terrorism.

He was cleared of conspiracy to commit criminal damage and two counts of disseminating a terrorist publication.

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