Swindon man accused of founding neo-Nazi group shared tweets about MP Jo Cox's murder, court told

Ben Raymond (right) leaving Westminster Magistrates' Court. Credit: PA
Ben Raymond (right) leaving Westminster magistrates in April Credit: PA

The alleged co-founder of a banned neo-Nazi group shared tweets with a convicted antisemite about the murder of MP Jo Cox days after she was killed, a court has heard.

Ben Raymond, 32, retweeted Garron Helm – a man previously jailed for sending an antisemitic message to then Labour MP Luciana Berger.

Helm was claiming “everything was going according to plan” following the murder of Ms Cox in June 2016 by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair.

Helm tweeted a picture of the front page of the Daily Mirror with the headline ‘Tragic Jo’s death sparks poll surge’, commenting: “Everything is going according to plan #Brexit #JoCox #FalseFlag.”

Raymond retweeted, adding the comment: “Who needs to stage a false flag when you can just lie without consequence?”

He is on trial at Bristol Crown Court accused of being a member of National Action after it was banned by the Government in December 2016.

On the day of Ms Cox’s murder, one of the group’s social media accounts praised Mair and said: “Only 649 MPs to go #WhiteJihad #ChurchillAkbar #BritainFirst #NationalAction #DayofTheRope.”

Raymond is said to have set up the group in 2013 to wage a “white Jihad” and race war in Britain, becoming its propaganda chief.

The jury was told Raymond was also linked to other convicted neo-Nazis such as Jack Renshaw, who is serving a life sentence for plotting to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper in 2017.

In a Skype chat with convicted National Action member Daniel Bogunovic, Raymond said: “Renshaw’s f***ing owned. He can blast Jews better than any Klan leader alive or dead.”

Barnaby Jameson QC, prosecuting, told the jury: “The defendant plainly approved of Renshaw’s violently antisemitic views which later earned the latter a conviction for stirring up racial hatred.”

Referring to Renshaw’s conviction, Mr Jameson said: “You may consider the plot chimes with what National Action was all about: dismembering the democratic process MP by MP.

“The year before it was Helm who told the defendant ‘everything was going to plan’ three days after Jo Cox was murdered.”

The court heard Raymond was not at a meeting in a pub in Warrington in 2017 where Renshaw plotted to murder the West Lancashire MP but was later told about it.

Mr Jameson said: “It tells you the defendant was clearly looped in on a matter of extreme secrecy and significance.

“It is difficult to think of anything more significant than a National Action follower planning to murder an MP with a sword.

“One wonders for how long the defendant knew Renshaw was on the loose with a gladius sword and plans to assassinate an MP but kept it to himself.”

National Action was banned under terror legislation in 2016 – joining the likes of the IRA, Islamic State and al Qaida – becoming the first far-right group to be proscribed since the British Union of Fascists in 1940.

Raymond, of Beechcroft Road in Swindon, denies membership of a proscribed organisation contrary to Section 11 of the Terrorism Act and six counts of possessing a document or record of use to a terrorist contrary to Section 58 of the Act.

According to the charges, the material includes documents entitled Ethnic Cleaning Operations, 2083 – European Declaration of Independence by Andrew Berwick, Homemade Detonators by Ragnar Benson, TM 31-210 Improvised Munitions Handbook, Homemade Molotov Cocktail and Cluster Bomb.

The trial continues.