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Man accused of Exeter shul arson attack and terrorism to stand trial at the Old Bailey

Tristan Morgan, 51, will stand trial in July

    The inside of Exeter Synagogue
    The inside of Exeter Synagogue (Photo: Exeter Synagogue)

    A 51 year-old man will stand trial at the Old Bailey accused of encouraging terrorism and an arson attack at Exeter synagogue.

    Tristan Morgan, of no fixed abode, is charged with two offences under the Terrorism Act - encouraging terrorism and collection of information.

    Mr Morgan appeared before Old Bailey in central London on Friday where it was confirmed he also faces an allegation of arson at the Exeter Synagogue in July last year.

    He will be held on remand until the start of his trial on July 1.

    The police could not report the link between two charges before the February 1 hearing for legal reasons.

    Superintendent Matt Lawler, the local commander for the Exeter, East & Mid Devon area, said: “Since the fire at the synagogue in July last year, local officers, colleagues from counter terrorism policing, and the Crown Prosecution Service have worked together on a wide investigation.

    “I hope that everyone will understand that we were legally unable to disclose further details, but as a result of today's hearing we can now confirm that the alleged arson and terrorism matters will now be dealt together at a single trial later this year.

    “Investigators, neighbourhood staff, and our partner agencies continue to work closely with the synagogue providing reassurance and support."

    He continued: "When the fire occurred the public, civic leaders and faith groups in the city all came together, and a collective message of support and tolerance was shared.

    "That tremendous goodwill has continued since, and we should all be heartened by the genuinely positive way in which the community as a whole has responded.

    “Synagogue members have of course been kept personally updated, and have asked us to pass on how overwhelmed they continue to be with the messages, practical help, and support they have received from everyone.

    "Being able to hold religious services back in the historic Synagogue in October after the building was restored, was a huge step in returning to a sense of normality.”

    Supt Lawler added: “We would stress that there is no increased threat to public safety as a result of this announcement today, but if anyone does have any concerns then please, as normal, approach any of our officers directly, contact us on 101, or in the case of an emergency dial 999.

    "You can also get in touch to report anything suspicious confidentially via  www.gov.uk/ACT or 0800 789 321."

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