Powys soldier pleads not guilty to neo-Nazi terror charges

A soldier from Powys and another man accused of being members of a banned neo-Nazi group have denied charges brought under anti-terror laws.

Lance Corporal Mikko Vevhilainen pleaded not guilty to two counts of stirring up racial hatred and one count of possessing a document containing information likely to be useful to a person preparing an act of terrorism.

Vevhilainen, previously based at an army camp in Sennybridge in Powys, appeared at Birmingham Crown Court via a prison videolink.

He is alleged to have stirred up racial hatred in April and September 2016 by publishing threatening written material on a website.

The 33-year-old serviceman, fellow soldier Private Mark Barrett and civilian Alexander Deakin have not yet been asked to enter a plea to a charge alleging they were members of National Action.

Deakin, of Beacon Road, Great Barr, Birmingham, appeared in the dock at the same court to plead not guilty to one count of distributing a terrorist publication named "ethnic cleansing operations" via Skype.

Deakin, 23, also denied two charges of possessing a document containing terrorist information, including one describing itself as a "white resistance" manual, on dates between 2014 and 2017.

Vevhilainan, Deakin and 24-year-old Barrett, who was stationed at a barracks in Cyprus, are next due to appear in court on February 19.

National Action was the first far-right group to be banned by the Home Office, in 2016.