Neo-Nazi accused tells jury she was pestered into Miss Hitler pageant entry
A woman accused of being a neo-Nazi terrorist claimed she only entered a Miss Hitler beauty pageant because she was pestered into it, a court has heard.
Alice Cutter said she was then left “panicking” when the far-right contest featuring her photograph, wearing a face-mask, under the contestant name “Buchenwald Princess” ended up making national newspapers.
The 22-year-old also described messages she sent about killing Jews as “just stupid dark humour” and “distasteful edginess” made in private.
Other remarks in which she said “Kill, kill, kill” while talking about gassing synagogues was just her “talking shit” and she would never do anything illegal, she told Birmingham Crown Court.
Cutter is on trial accused of being a member of banned terrorist group National Action, alongside her boyfriend Mark Jones and two other men.
The waitress, who was giving evidence for the first time on Wednesday, told jurors she “really didn’t think” she ever was a member of the organisation, which was banned in December 2016.
Cutter told jurors she had filled out her own two-page profile as part of the entry to the National Action-run Miss Hitler competition.
She described having a love of “nature and animals”, “European architecture” and added the “best gift” life had given her was “cats”.
Cutter also said on her entry form: “The only reason I even decided to become active in the far right was National Action.”
Cutter, who told jurors she was an animal-lover and a vegan, was asked about an exchange with group member Alexander Deakin, in a chat about killing Jews.
Jurors heard Deakin, who Cutter said first introduced her to National Action, has since been convicted of being a regional organiser for the terrorist organisation, after the group was outlawed.
Describing her remarks, she said: “It sounds sad but I was, I guess, just showing off to my own target audience, saying stupid things because I knew it really wasn’t that extreme to them I suppose.
“It was just stupid dark humour, distasteful edginess and I knew I could say these sort of things and it wouldn’t go anywhere.”
Cutter said Deakin had “very persistently” asked her to enter the Miss Hitler pageant, along with another member she named as Ashley Bell.
Asked about entering the competition by her barrister Liam Walker, she replied: “Because I’d just made some new friends and I thought they might be different to people I’d experienced in the past.
“I didn’t want to cock it up so early by not doing that.”
Cutter, originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire, claimed it was National Action’s co-founder Ben Raymond who selected her entry name “Buchenwald Princess”, which referenced the infamous Nazi-era death camp.
The competition made headlines when a national newspaper exposed the pageant in June 2016.
Asked how she felt on seeing her face and those of other entrants splashed across the press, Cutter replied: “I never thought it would get published because I didn’t think it would go anywhere and I just thought it would remain where it was, on the website.
“But it did get picked up and I was panicking.”
Cutter, who claimed to have a history of anxiety and panic attacks, said she urged Raymond to alter or remove her image from the Miss Hitler website but it remained live.
“I really did regret it as soon as it happened,” she added.
She was also asked about other remarks to Deakin in which she said “why can we not gas the f****** invaders” and, regarding Jews, “cleanse them with fire”.
Cutter, wearing a floral dress, replied: “I definitely didn’t mean that, I’m being stupid on a private chat with Deakin.
“It’s tasteless, I know it’s tasteless but it’s not reality.
“I wouldn’t be cleansing anyone with fire, I wouldn’t be gassing anybody, it’s not real.”
Jurors heard that Cutter considered Deakin a “friend” and “funny”, but she had had to rebuff his attempts to begin a romantic relationship.
Deakin had been putting it about to others that he and she were “potentially going to be an item”, which Cutter “did not appreciate”.
Instead, Cutter started dating co-accused Jones, which left Deakin “mumbling under his breath” at one social gathering where both men were present, she said.
Jones, 24, ended up moving in together with Cutter in Sowerby Bridge, Halifax, West Yorkshire, in May 2017.
Cutter told jurors she started to worry about her and Jones being part of National Action, and that a series of messages about their relationship was “just saying can it (National Action) not just be a thing anymore”.
She told how the couple got engaged at Fountains Abbey, near Ripon.
But Cutter broke down in tears when telling the jury she had removed her ring “a week-and-a-half ago”.
Earlier in the trial, Jones revealed during his evidence how he had cheated on Cutter with a 16-year-old female would-be recruit.
Cutter and Jones, who is originally from Highbury, London, are on trial alongside Garry Jack, 23, of Heathland Avenue, Birmingham, and 18-year-old Connor Scothern, of Bagnall Avenue, Nottingham, accused of group membership.
All deny any wrongdoing and the trial continues.