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Neo-Nazi plotted MP murder for ‘White Jihad’, court told

Alleged National Action spokesman Jack Renshaw admitted buying a 19-inch-long Gladius Machete to kill Labour’s Rosie Cooper last summer.

A neo-Nazi plotted to murder an MP and police officer for “White Jihad” before committing “suicide by cop” a court has heard.

Alleged National Action spokesman Jack Renshaw, 23, has admitted buying a 19-inch-long Gladius Machete to kill Labour’s Rosie Cooper last summer.

Afterwards, he threatened to take hostages to lure a police officer to the scene so he could kill her too, jurors heard.

He allegedly told fellow National Action members he would pretend he was wearing an explosive vest to commit “suicide by cop”.

Renshaw was given the blessing of National Action leader Christopher Lythgoe at a meeting in a Warrington pub, the Old Bailey heard.

He suggested Renshaw target the Home Secretary instead of “nobody” Ms Cooper, but the idea was rejected as the Minister would be too well protected.

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West Lancashire Labour MP Rosie Cooper was the target of a murder plot by Jack Renshaw (PA)

Approving the killings, Lythgoe allegedly told him: “Don’t f*** it up.”

The scheme was foiled by disenchanted former National Action member Robbie Mullen who reported the threat to Hope Not Hate, the charity set up to combat far right extremism, jurors were told.

On the opening day of his trial, Renshaw pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism as well as making a threat to kill Detective Constable Victoria Henderson.

But he denies being a member of National Action, along with Lythgoe and four other men.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC claimed they were all part of the North West area branch of National Action which met at the Friar Penketh pub in Warrington.

In the wake of its support for the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, the organisation became the first extreme right-wing group to be proscribed since the Second World War.

But Lythgoe allegedly resolved to keep National Action going after December 2016, saying in an e-mail: “We are just shedding one skin for another.”

The court heard he set up a new gym and headquarters in Warrington for combat training in preparation for the “race war”.

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Jo Cox was murdered by Thomas Mair in 2016, leading to the proscription of National Action (Jo Cox Foundation/PA)

Meanwhile, Renshaw’s violent plan was hatched following his arrest in January last year on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred.

He was interviewed by Det Con Henderson about two anti-Semitic speeches in Blackpool and at the Yorkshire Forum for Nationalists in which he claimed “Hitler was right”.

An analysis of his phone later revealed what police considered evidence of child sex offences and he was interviewed again by Det Con Henderson, jurors heard.

On July 1 last year, Renshaw unveiled the plot to National Action members at a meeting in the Friar Penketh, the court heard.

He allegedly revealed he had already bought a machete marketed as offering “19 inches of unprecedented piercing and slashing power at a bargain price”.

Mr Atkinson said: “Renshaw’s plan had a more sophisticated dimension in that its objective was not simply to make a political point, as he put it to kill for National Action and White Jihad, but to revenge himself on those he considered to be persecuting him and trying to send him to prison for a significant period.

“Renshaw explained that after killing Rosie Cooper MP, he would take some people hostage and would then demand of the police when they attended that DC Henderson come to the scene.

“His plan then would be to kill that officer who was, he said, his real target.”

Renshaw allegedly said he would make a video for release after the attack, saying it was on behalf of National Action.

As Mr Mullen left the meeting, Renshaw gave him a hug and said he probably would not see him again.

Renshaw later posted on Facebook: “I’ll laugh last but it may not be for the longest.”

Mr Mullen tipped off Hope Not Hate and its director Nick Lowles passed on the information to Ruth Smeeth MP, who used to work for the charity.

Ms Smeeth immediately alerted Ms Cooper, who contacted police.

Lythgoe, 32, from Warrington, denies giving Renshaw permission to murder the West Lancashire MP on behalf of National Action on July 1 last year.

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Court artist sketch of (left to right) Garron Helm, Michal Trubini, Andrew Clarke, Matthew Hankinson, Christopher Lythgoe and Jack Renshaw at The Old Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

The pair – along with Garron Helm, 24, of Seaforth, Merseyside, Matthew Hankinson, 24, of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, Andrew Clarke, 33, and Michal Trubini, 35, both of Warrington – also deny membership of the banned far right group.

The court heard how Renshaw of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, had previously made Twitter posts “dripping with hatred of Jews and other ethnic minorities”.

Before the ban, Lythgoe had sent out emails about physical training, demonstrations and the structure of the organisation, jurors heard.

A search of Hankinson’s home uncovered the text of a National Action interview setting out its aim to “destroy the rot and disease wherever it is found”, jurors heard.

Helm was pictured wearing a National Action skull mask in front of a Nazi banner and had a photograph of Adolf Hitler above his fireplace, the court heard.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

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