Alleged leader of banned terror group accused of giving green light to murder Rosie Cooper
THE alleged leader of the banned right-wing terror group National Action appeared in court yesterday accused of giving the go-ahead for a member to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper with a machete.
Christopher Lythgoe, 31, is charged with granting a 22-year-old man “permission” to carry out the attack on July 1.
The younger man, who is from Lancashire, cannot be named for legal reasons.
He is charged with intending to commit acts of terrorism contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006. The charge states that he bought a “gladius machete” for the purpose of murdering West Lancashire MP Ms Cooper between June 5 and July 3
He is also accused of threatening to kill a female police officer on July 1. Alleged ringleader Mr Lythgoe, from Warrington in Cheshire, is charged with encouraging the 22-year-old to commit murder and both men are also charged with being members of National Action, which became the first far-right group to be banned under terrorism laws in December 2016. Being a member of or inviting support for the neonazi mob is a criminal offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The pair appeared in the dock at Westminster magistrates’ court alongside four other alleged members of the group: Garron Helm, 24, from Seaforth in Merseyside; Matthew Hankinson, 23, from Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside; Andrew Clarke, 33, of Warrington; and Michael Trubini, 35, also of Warrington.
The six men are accused of continuing to be members of National Action after the group was banned until their arrest on September 27.
They spoke to confirm their names, dates of birth and ages.Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot remanded them in custody before a pre-trial hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday November 3.
In a statement released on Thursday after the men were charged, Ms Cooper said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in this case, especially the counterterrorism police, for keeping me, my staff and the public safe.
“There remains an ongoing criminal investigation so it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.”
The entry for National Action in the official ban list calls it a “racist neonazi group” established in 2013 with branches across Britain that “conduct provocative street demonstrations and stunts aimed at intimidating local communities.”
It also links National Action to the murder of Labour Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox in 2016. It said the group’s online propaganda material frequently features extremely violent imagery and language and cited tweets posted in connection with Ms Cox’s murder at the hands of fascist Thomas Mair.