National Action targeted disaffected young men through slick online propaganda
National Action’s hate-filled race warriors peaked at around 100 nationwide, of whom 11 have been convicted of being members since the group was banned.
Founded in late 2013 by university students Alex Davies and Benjamin Raymond, it was based on neo-Nazi ideology and hatred of members of Jewish, gay and ethnic minority communities.
It targeted Britain’s disaffected male youth through slick online propaganda set to an electro-pop soundtrack.
Pc Matthew Fletcher told jurors at the Old Bailey: “Part of white supremacy is preparation for the race war in their eyes, in their ideology.”
The far-right group drew heavily on the virulently racist rhetoric and symbols of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party.
The black and white logo featured on flags was similar to that of Hitler’s brown shirts.
Recruitment was via the internet and through the distribution of leaflets at flash demonstrations.
Davies was removed from Warwick University due to the sticker propaganda campaign there.
Stunts by activists included the desecration of the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square, placing a banana in his hand.
Propaganda videos of demonstrations across England and Scotland showed men in skull masks waving banners and making Nazi salutes.
National Action was banned for promoting the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox in tweets which called for her killer Thomas Mair’s “sacrifice” not to be in vain.
But whistle-blower Robbie Mullen told the court: “The politics was still the same – free white man. The group had gone, the name had gone, but the people were still meeting.”
Leader Christopher Lythgoe, 32, from Warrington, was said to be in charge of propaganda and Mixed Martial Arts training.
He “decided everything”, even instructing members to dress all in black at demonstrations, Mr Mullen said.
When he learned of the ban, he told members they had “shed one skin for another” as he took the organisation underground.
He promoted self-defence at his gym for “whatever happens, if there was ever the race war”, according to Mr Mullen.
He said: “Chris would do the basics and it would just be normal boxing, punching a bag and sparring.”
Jack Renshaw, 23, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, was accused of being the speech-maker and spokesman.
He had a particular hatred of Jewish people and described them as “vermin”, the court heard.
Renshaw was investigated for inciting racial hatred in speeches and was due to answer bail days before he revealed his plot to kill his local MP Rosie Cooper.
He was later convicted at Preston Crown Court of stirring up racial hatred and jailed for three years.
It can now be reported that Renshaw is a convicted paedophile who was jailed for 16 months last year for grooming boys online.
He told his friends that his main aim was to exact revenge on the police officer in his case and die “by cop” rather than face jail.
Matthew Hankinson, 24, of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, was in charge of “security” and was for some time Lythgoe’s “number two”.
Other convicted National Action members included Midlands leader Alex Deakin, 23, from Birmingham.
Darren Fletcher, 28, of Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, and Adam Thomas, 22, and his partner, Claudia Patatas, 38, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, had a meeting with Renshaw in Liverpool on July 1 – the day he revealed his plot at the Friar Penketh.
A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for 48 hours but failed to reach verdicts on whether Renshaw was a post-ban member of National Action along with Andrew Clarke, 34, and Michal Trubini, 36, from Warrington.