Alleged National Action member pleads guilty to planning murder of Labour MP

Jack Renshaw

In another indication of the threat of far-right extremism in the UK, an alleged member of a banned neo Nazi group has admitted planning to murder a Labour MP in an act of what he termed “White Jihad.” 

Jack Renshaw, 23, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to preparing an act of terrorism by buying a machete to kill West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper. He also admitted making a threat to kill police officer Victoria Henderson.

Renshaw, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, is one of six men on trial who deny being in the group National Action which is thought to be virulently antisemitic and Islamophobic. Renshaw had previously denied the two charges, but changed his pleas at the start of his trial.

Prosecutors said Renshaw wanted to take hostages to lure Det Con Henderson to the scene so he could kill her too. But the court heard the plan was foiled after a disenchanted former member of National Action reported the threat to Hope Not Hate, an organisation seeking to combat extreme right-wing political racism.

Duncan Atkinson QC, said the defendants were “not being prosecuted for their racist or neo-Nazi beliefs, however repulsive they may be, but for their participation in a banned organisation that sought actively through fear, intimidation and the threat of violence rather than through free speech and democracy to shape society.”

National Action was formally put on a government list of proscribed organisations in December 2016.

Mr Atkinson said Renshaw’s “objective was not simply to make a political point, as he put it to kill for National Action and white jihad, but to revenge himself on those he considered to be persecuting him”, namely Lancashire Police, and Det Con Henderson in particular.

The court heard Renshaw had been arrested in January 2017 on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred over two anti-Semitic speeches he had given.

He was interviewed by Det Con Henderson and another officer and then for a second time after analysis of a seized mobile phone “revealed what the police considered to be evidence of child sex offences or grooming”.

Renshaw had talked about how police were trying to destroy his life and make it sound like he was a paedophile, prosecutor said.

He said after he had killed the officer he would commit “suicide by cop” by pretending to be wearing a suicide vest and would also make a video to say the attack had been done on behalf of National Action.

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