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Michael Heaton and Trevor Hannington convicted

25/06/2010

Michael Heaton and Trevor Hannington faced serious charges of soliciting to murder for their roles in the far-right extremist group Aryan Strike Force (ASF), said Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division lawyer Stuart Laidlaw.

As members of the ASF, they were closely associated with Ian Davison who was recently convicted of terrorism offences and of producing the poison Ricin. They enjoyed similar links with his son, Nicky Davison, who was also recently convicted of terrorism offences.

Both Michael Heaton and Trevor Hannington denied offences of soliciting murder. Michael Heaton also denied offences relating to stirring up racial hatred. Both have been acquitted after trial of soliciting to murder, but Michael Heaton was found guilty on all four racial hatred charges that he faced.

Before the trial, Trevor Hannington pleaded guilty to six charges which included offences of possessing and disseminating terrorist publications and stirring up racial hatred.

Mr Laidlaw said: "We considered this to be a very serious case and on the evidence presented to us by police, the public interest required a prosecution."

The ASF is the latest in a long line of Neo-Nazi groups with a mission to promote the National Socialist principles of Adolf Hitler, said Mr Laidlaw, whose members appeared to venerate Hitler and denied the Holocaust.

He said: "Holding unpleasant and offensive views is not illegal. However, people cross the line when they urge others to take violent direct action, especially after they download terror manuals on how to produce explosives - or, as in Ian Davison's case, Ricin.

"Both juries saw some thoroughly unpleasant material which contained views which most people would find obnoxious and abhorrent. We would like to thank them for performing their duty in these cases."

End

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. For further information contact CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906.
  2. Michael Heaton was charged with:
    • 2 x soliciting to murder, contrary to Sec 4 Offences Against the Person Act 1861;
    • 4 x using threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to stir up racial hatred, contrary to Sec 18 Public Order Act 1986.
    He pleaded not guilty to all charges. He was sentenced to two and a half years.
  3. Trevor Hannington was charged with:
    • 1 x soliciting to murder, contrary to Sec 4 Offences Against the Person Act 1861;
    • 1 x dissemination of terrorist publications, contrary to Sec 2 Terrorism Act 2006;
    • 2 x using threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to stir up racial hatred, contrary to Sec 18 Public Order Act 1986;
    • 3 x possessing a record containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to Sec 58 (1) (b) Terrorism Act 2000.
    He pleaded not guilty to soliciting to murder but entered guilty pleas on all other charges on 9 June 2010. He was sentenced to two years.
  4. Maximum Sentences:
    • Soliciting to murder - life imprisonment
    • Sec 18 Public Order Act - seven years
    • Sec 2 Terrorism Act 2006 seven years
    • Sec 58 (1) (b) Terrorism Act 2000 - 10 years
  5. For information on Ian and Nicky Davison read the CPS press release Far right extremist father and son convicted of terrorism offences
  6. The DPP has published his long term vision for the prosecution service and its role within the wider criminal justice system. It includes modernising the service and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of criminal justice - read "The Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard" at www.cps.gov.uk/pps
  7. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: the Central Fraud Group, Counter-Terrorism, Organised Crime and Special Crime. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

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