Fury as online troll who called for second Shoah is spared jail

Nicholas Nelson handed suspended sentence after bombarding Oscar-nominated screenwriter with antisemitic abuse


Outraged anti-racism campaigners have appealed to the Attorney General after a judge spared antisemitic troll Nicholas Nelson from jail, instead handing down what they described as a “woefully weak” suspended sentence.

Sentencing Nelson at Southwark Crown Court last Friday, judge Charles Gratwicke ordered him to do 250 hours of unpaid work and handed him an 18-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, for bombarding an Oscar-nominated screenwriter with antisemitic abuse.

Nelson, who has twice been convicted of sending abusive and racist messages to high-profile Jews, told victim Lee Kern that he hoped for another Holocaust.

He was also described in court as a “fanatical” admirer of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Following the sentencing, Mr Kern, a writer, said it sent a “clear signal to Britain’s Jews that, when it comes to receiving justice, they don’t count”.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism, which used a court order to unmask Nelson after he harassed his victims anonymously, said it would refer the case to the Attorney General’s Office, which has the power to send unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal.

Nelson, 33, sent sickening messages celebrating the Holocaust and threatening violence to Mr Kern between November 2018 and October 2020.

He heaped similar online abuse on writer Joanne Bell between November 2019 and February 2020.

Nelson also left abusive voicemails for Jackie Emery in April and May 2020 after she took on a role at the Board of Deputies. Nelson, of St Neots, Cambridgeshire, admitted sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress or anxiety and two counts of racially aggravated harassment.

In the messages, Nelson referred to Mr Kern as “disgusting”, an “Islamophobic white racist” and just “another right-wing entitled person playing make believe he was a victim or a minority”.

He also left voicemails for Ms Emery. In one, Nelson said: “For your organisation to lie about Jewish people is frankly disgusting.

“You ought to make Joseph Goebbels proud.

“You are natural born liars and disgusting people.”

In his victim impact statement, Mr Kern described how he suffered years of harassment by Nelson, who he described as a “highly motivated Jeremy Corbyn fanatic”.

He told the court: “The antisemitic abuse included wishing me and my family would experience another Holocaust, sending intimidating messages of Jews being shot and used as target practice, subjected to disgusting pornographic and sexual deviant rape fantasies involving Jews and Adolph Hitler.”

Judge Gratwicke told Nelson: “Nobody sitting in this courtroom could feel anything but revulsion, sickness and downright anger at the type of behaviour that you engaged in.”

However, handing down the sentence, he said that the defendant was “not the person you were two or three years ago”.

Mr Kern said: “Why are antisemitic hate crimes not deemed as criminal as those of other forms of racism?

“What exactly does it take for a person found guilty of repeated racially motivated crimes against Jews to actually go to prison? This is a disgrace and an embarrassment.”

Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Instead of sending him to prison where he belongs, Judge Gratwicke has spared a man who deserves no leniency.

“We are now referring this absurd sentence to the Attorney General’s office.”

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust said: “This sentence is woefully weak given Nelson’s history of repeated online offending.”

In 2020 Nelson was given a suspended sentence for sending antisemitic abuse to Dame Margaret Hodge as well as then-MPs Lord (John) Mann and Dame Louise Ellman.

He sent vulgar and threatening messages to the MPs’ offices after they commented on racism against Jewish people.

In 2018 Nelson was spared jail following similar abuse towards then-MPs Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth.

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