Two men jailed for being members of banned neo-Nazi group National Action

Christopher Lythgoe and Matthew Hankinson were jailed for eight and six years, respectively


Two British neo-Nazis have been jailed for being members of National Action, the banned fascist and antisemitic group.

Christopher Lythgoe, 32, and Matthew Hankinson, 24, were jailed for eight and six years, respectively, at the Old Bailey in Central London on Wednesday after an six week trial.

Lythgoe, from Warrington, in Cheshire, was believed to be the leader of the group, which was banned in 2016 over its support for the murder of MP Jo Cox.

Jemma Levene, the deputy director of campaign group Hope Not Hate, said the case was a "timely reminder about how antisemitism continues to be at the very heart of Britain’s far right".

Lythgoe was arrested by police investigating a plot to murder Rosie Cooper, Labour MP for West Lancashire, and a female police officer.

He was also accused of encouraging the murder of Ms Cooper but was found not guilty.

The plot was uncovered after Robbie Mullen – a mole within National Action – alerted Hope Not Hate in July 2017.

A USB stick found at Hankinson’s address had text from an interview, in which he said: “We fight for the racial survival of our people, for blood and soil. We are not shabbos goyim, we are not good cattle to be commanded.

“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

During the trial, the jury were shown a number of messages in which Lythgoe instructed the group to continue activity - but to ‘shed a new skin’ in order to avoid detection by the authorities.

Giving evidence against his former comrades, Mr Mullen, 25, said the group's enemies were “Jews, blacks, Asians. Every non-white race.”

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Jay described Lythgoe as a "fully-fledged neo-Nazi", adding that the Home Secretary was “amply justified” in banning the group, which sought to achieve a “white Britain by any means necessary.

“The truly evil and dystopian vision I am describing could never have been achieved through the activities of National Action, a very small group operating at the very periphery of the far right.”

The Community Security Trust said on Wednesday it is “vitally important” that the Jewish community, and society at large, “understands that terrorism now comes in many forms, including neo-Nazis who take sick inspiration from Jihadi terrorists.”   

Addressing Lythgoe, the judge added: “Although you are not a charismatic individual, it was clearly through your effort and ability that the torch of National Action was kept burning after December 2016.”

Jack Renshaw, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, admitted preparing to engage in an act of terrorism. The 23-year-old has previously been convicted of inciting racial hatred, it can now be reported.

Garron Helm, 24, was acquitted of being a member of National Action.

National Action, the first far-right group to be banned by the Government since the Second World War, reportedly had up to 100 members, at its most successful point.

Formed in 2013, it focused on recruiting young people from educated backgrounds. The group's presence increased at demonstrations and far-right rallies up until it became a proscribed organisation.

Ms Cooper said in a statement after the sentencing: "I think it's awful that any public servant - teacher, nurse, doctor, police, MP - should be targeted and threatened with violence simply because of the job they do.

"To that end, I'd like to thank Robbie Mullen, whose information saved my life.”

Shortly after the sentencing, Ms Cooper held backs tears up as she rose to speak at Prime Minister’s Questions and thanked Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and “every single member of this house for the kindness they’ve shown me”.

Detective Superintendent Will Chatterton, the head of counter terrorism investigations for for the North West of England, said a "spotlight has shone" on National Action's "sickening activities".

He added: “These people are not representative of our communities, they have no place in society and we will continue in our fight against those who want to bring a reign of terror to the UK.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive