Jury out on man accused of planning machete attack at gay pride event

A jury has been sent out to consider verdicts in the case of a "Nazi" accused of plotting a machete attack at an LGBT event.

Ethan Stables, 20, is alleged to have planned to kill people attending a gay pride event at the New Empire pub in Barrow, Cumbria.

Armed police stopped him on the way to the pub following a tip-off from a member of a far-right Facebook group where he had posted a message saying he was "going to war".

Stables had written that he planned to "slaughter every single one of the gay bastards".

He was unarmed when he was arrested on June 23 but police found an axe and a machete at his home, Leeds Crown Court heard.

The jury was shown a video of a burning rainbow flag and Stables saying "gays look nicer on fire".

Jonathan Sandiford, prosecuting, said Stables had previously espoused homophobic, racist and Nazi views online, and the defendant was pictured with a Swastika flag hanging on his bedroom wall.

Stables said in his defence that did not intend to carry out the attack and he was simply venting his anger online.

The defendant, who has told the court he is bisexual and has autism spectrum condition, denies preparing an act of terrorism, making threats to kill and possessing explosive.

He denied he was doing a "recce" of the venue when he was arrested and said he was heading out to sit outside the jobcentre to use the free public wifi.

Stables claimed he was a liberal and adopted a right-wing persona to fit in with people he chatted to online.

Patrick Upward QC, defending, told the jury Stables was not a white supremacist but a "white fantasist".

His barrister said Stables would sit at night on a wall outside the jobcentre for six hours at a time as he had no wifi at his Egerton Court home.

In his closing speech to the jury, Mr Upward said: "How can that be regarded as normal?"

Judge Peter Collier QC told the jurors they must decide whether Stables was preparing to carry out the attack or, as the defence said, he was a fantasist who got carried away.

"It is a stark contrast," he said.

"The lines are clearly drawn and it is you who have that responsibility to make that decision."

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