Racist duo are sent back to UK

By Leon Symons, June 18, 2009

Two men who were refused political asylum in America after being convicted in Britain of publishing racially inflammatory material on the internet appeared at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday afternoon.

Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle fled to California. They were sent home on Tuesday, 11 months after jumping bail while the jury in their trial were part-way through returning their verdicts.

The pair were convicted at the original trial of inciting racial hatred against Jews and other minority ethnic groups, using material the Crown Prosecution Service said crossed the line from unpleasant and obnoxious to a criminal offence. Sheppard was convicted of 11 offences and Whittle of five. At a second trial held in absentia, Sheppard was convicted of a further five offences.

When they returned to Leeds Crown on Wednesday afternoon, both pleaded guilty to failure to surrender. They were remanded in custody until July 10 for sentencing and reports.

Last updated: 2:24pm, June 18 2009