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Former police officer jailed for National Action membership

|News, Terrorism

A former probationary police officer has been sentenced at the Old Bailey to a total of four years and four months in prison after he was exposed as a secret member of a neo-Nazi group.

Benjamin Hannam, 22, was found guilty of being a former member of National Action after a trial earlier this month. He was also convicted of possession of documents containing information useful for a terrorist purpose, and fraud. He had lied in a Metropolitan Police Service application form and vetting form about his prior membership of the terror group.

Hannam spray-painting a National Action symbol in Swindon in May 2017
Hannam spray-painting a National Action symbol in Swindon in May 2017

Hannam had previously admitted possession of a prohibited image of a child found on his computer. The CPS showed he deliberately selected and downloaded it.

Hannam claimed he had never been a member of National Action. However the CPS was able to show that before it was banned by the Government in December 2016, he regularly posted comments on an online message board and sought to recruit others. After the ban his membership of the group continued and he attended a meeting of National Action members in a pub in Swindon in January 2017.

The prosecution used CCTV images, travel and financial transactions to confirm he was there. Others attending included some who would later be convicted of membership of National Action and terrorism-related offences. A few months later, Hannam attended an outdoor boxing session held in a woodland. He was seen in video footage of the event.

On a USB stick found in Hannam’s belongings, there was a manual on how to use a knife to kill someone and a document written by Anders Breivik, a right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in terrorist attacks in Norway in 2011.

Jenny Hopkins, Head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Benjamin Hannam lied on his police application and vetting forms in an attempt to hide his dangerous and racist's beliefs. During the trial we were able to prove that Hannam had been a member of National Action, a banned far-right terror group, which led to his conviction."

The CPS also applied for a Serious Crime Prevention Order for a period of two years after Hannam’s release. This includes restrictions to ensure effective management of Hannam’s use of the internet to protect the public after his release. 

Notes to editors

  • Today, Benjamin Hannam (DOB 22/07/1998) was sentenced to four years and four months in total
    • Count 1: Membership of a proscribed organisation (National Action) – three years and four months to run currently with counts 4 and 5 but consecutively to counts 2 and 3
    • Count 2: dishonestly making false representations, intending to make gain for himself, contrary to section 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 - 12 months concurrent to count 3 and  the prohibited images offence but consecutively to count 1
    • Count 3: dishonestly making false representations, intending to make gain for himself, contrary to section 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 - 12 months concurrent to count 2 and the prohibited images offence but consecutively to count 1
    • Count 4: possession of terrorist material - two years and six months, concurrent to count 5 and count 1
    • Count 5: possession of terrorist material - two years and six months, concurrent to count 4 and count 1
    • Possession of a prohibited image of a child  - three months concurrent to counts 2 and 3
  • In addition he was given a Serious Crime Prevent Order which would run for two years from the date he was released from custody and a 10 year notification period under terrorism legislation
  • He is the latest person to be convicted over involvement in National Action: Mark Jones (DOB: 08/09/1994), Garry Jack (DOB: 06/11/1995), Connor Scothern (DOB: 05/02/2001), Alice Cutter (DOB: 21/05/1996) and Daniel Ward (DOB: 05/08/1990) have all been jailed.

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