Two ex-soldiers jailed for Grimsby mosque fire-bomb attack

From left: Stuart Harness, Daniel Cressey and Gavin Humphries

Two ex-soldiers who firebombed a mosque four days after the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby have each been jailed for six years.

Gavin Humphries, 37, and Stuart Harness, 33, admitted the attack on the Islamic Cultural Centre in Grimsby.

No-one was hurt in the attack in May, Hull Crown Court heard.

A third man, Daniel Cressey, 25, of New Holland, was found guilty last month of aiding and abetting the pair. He was also jailed for six years.

Humphries and Harness were arrested on the day of the attack, 26 May, and pleaded guilty to arson at Grimsby Crown Court two days later.

They were both remanded in custody until the conclusion of Cressey’s trial.

Crime of violence”

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Cressey had driven the pair to the mosque in Weelsby Road but did not take part in the attack, four days after Fusilier Rigby was killed outside Woolwich Barracks in London.

Humphries and Harness, both former soldiers of Dixon Avenue, Grimsby, unwittingly recorded themselves making the bombs on cameras set up in Harness’s home.

The pair were caught again on CCTV as they carried out the attack on the mosque.

Sentencing the three men, Judge Mark Bury said: “This was a crime of violence where a particular religious group was deliberately targeted in an act of retribution.

“Whatever your feelings of outrage were, you should have allowed justice to take its course. Instead you carried out a retaliatory act of throwing petrol bombs at the Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre.”

He added: “As is usual in these cases, the victims had nothing to do with the events that so enraged you.

“They were entirely innocent, law-abiding Muslims who were practising their religion in a peaceable way.”

Islamophobia after Woolwich

Since the murder of Lee Rigby, Islamophobic attacks have increased across Britain. Numerous mosques and Islamic centres have been fire bombed and targeted with explosive devices.

A mosque in Braintree, Essex and Gillingham, Kent were attacked on the evening of the Woolwich murder. A mosque in Bletchley, Milton Keynes was fire bombed within days of the of the Woolwich incident. Al Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill, North London was torched to the ground with “EDL” painted on its walls. Darul Uloom in Chislehurst, Greater London was also set on fire weeks after the Woolwich attack.

A Muslim cemetery was desecrated with Islamophobic graffiti in Newport, Wales in June and an Islamic centre in Kirkcaldy, Scotland was also vandalised the night before the start of Ramadan.

Ukrainian student, Pavlo Lapshyn who had hatred of “non-whites” admitted to murdering an 82-year-old Mohammed Saleem from Birmingham and plotting to cause explosions near mosques.

Lapshyn, a postgraduate student from Dnipropetrovsk admitted causing an explosion on July 12 near the Kanzal Iman mosque in Tipton, and engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts between April 24 and July 18 this year.

This included planting bombs near mosques in Walsall and Wolverhampton, researching locations to plant bombs and buying chemicals on the internet to make explosives.


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