Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 17:38 UK

Man 'spoke of tennis ball bombs'

Neil Lewington
Neil Lewington denies a total of eight charges

A man described as a white supremacist spoke to a girlfriend about launching an attack on her Asian neighbours using tennis ball bombs, a court has heard.

Neil Lewington, 43, made the comments after claiming the neighbours had given him a "dirty look", his ex-girlfriend Cynthia Little told the Old Bailey.

The defendant, accused of preparing for acts of terror, also said he was once a skinhead who beat people up, she said.

Mr Lewington, of Reading, Berks, denies eight terrorism and explosives charges.

Ms Little told the court how the defendant had "gone on about" the tennis ball bombs after passing her neighbours in the street.

'Para claims'

"He was going on about bombs - that he could make bombs out of tennis balls and he asked me for their house number, which I didn't know," she said.

"He said it would be easy to throw something or leave something there because no-one would see who did it. Presumably he was talking about tennis balls."

She went on to say that Mr Lewington had recalled how "he used to be a skinhead and they used to beat up Pakistanis and coloureds".

Mr Lewington also made false claims about serving as a Paratrooper during the Falklands War, she said.

He was in a world of his own
Margaret Lewington
Defendant's mother

Prosecutors claim the defendant had established a bomb factory at his parents' home in Reading and wanted to target those he regarded as "non-British".

The court has heard how he was arrested at Lowestoft railway station in Suffolk in October last year allegedly carrying the components for two home-made bombs.

Later searches of Mr Lewington's home found a notebook entitled "Waffen SS UK members' handbook" which contained drawings of electronics and chemical mixtures, jurors heard.

On Wednesday, his parents told the court how their son was an alcoholic loner who would often drink 16 pints a day and had attempted suicide twice.

"It was when he was living with a girl," his mother, Margaret Lewington said.

"She came to the house in the middle of the night and said that he'd taken paracetamol, and on the other occasion that he'd drunk bleach."

'Racist language'

But after living with a woman of Egyptian descent and another woman, he returned to live at the family home, she said.

He spent most of his time alone in his bedroom with Blu-Tack covering the key hole, she added.

"He was in a world of his own," said Mrs Lewington.

Tanker driver Christopher Lewington, the defendant's father, said he had not spoken to his son for 10 years, although he said he had heard him use racist language.

Neil Lewington is accused of preparing for terrorism by having the bomb parts in a public place.

He also faces two charges of having articles for terrorism - including weedkiller, firelighters and three tennis balls - two of having documents for terrorism and another of collecting information for terrorism.

Two further counts allege he possessed an explosive device "with intent to endanger life" and that he had explosives, namely weedkiller.

The trial continues.



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