Web racists have jail sentence cuts

One of the pamphlets distributed by Sheppard and Whittle

One of the pamphlets distributed by Sheppard and Whittle

Two men who were jailed for inciting racial hatred on a foreign website have had their sentences cut.

Simon Sheppard, 52, of Selby, North Yorkshire was sentenced to four years and 10 months, and Stephen Whittle, 43, Preston, Lancashire to two years and four months at Leeds Crown Court in July.

They appealed against the conviction and lost.

Today, the three appeal judges reduced Sheppard's sentence by one year and Whittle's by six months.

A police investigation began after a complaint about a leaflet called “Tales of the Holohoax”, which was pushed through the door of a Blackpool synagogue and traced back to a post office box in Hull registered to Sheppard.

Published material found later included images of murdered Jews alongside cartoons and articles ridiculing ethnic groups.

The pair were charged under the Public Order Act with publishing racially inflammatory material, distributing racially inflammatory material and possessing racially inflammatory material with a view to distribution.

They had stood trial at Leeds Crown Court in 2008 but fled to America when the jury was half-way through giving its verdicts.

The Appeal Court judges said that "this was truly pernicious material" but that the sentences handed down had been excessive.

Last updated: 12:36pm, January 29 2010