Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Wednesday, 15 July 2009 16:48 UK

Neo-Nazi convicted of terror plan

Neil Lewington
Lewington had denied all eight charges against him

A white supremacist has been convicted at the Old Bailey of having explosives with intent to endanger life and preparing for acts of terrorism.

Neil Lewington, 43, had been developing a bomb-making factory in his bedroom in Tilehurst, Reading, the trial heard.

He was carrying components for two home-made bombs when arrested last October in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Sentencing was adjourned until 8 September, but Judge Peter Thornton said a lengthy jail term was likely.

"Neil Lewington clearly set out to make viable devices which could have seriously injured or possibly killed members of the public going about their daily lives," said Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner John McDowall.

Lewington's arrest on a train at Lowestoft station was by chance, after he had been abusing a female train conductor.

A search of his bag uncovered the home-made bombs.

Bomb parts

Later investigation of his bedroom at his parents' home found weedkiller, firelighters, three tennis balls with diagrams on how to convert them into shrapnel bombs, firework powder, electrical timers and detonators.

A notebook labelled "Waffen SS UK members' handbook" included a "device logbook" of drawings of electronics and chemical mixtures.

Searches of the house where the defendant lived revealed nothing short of a factory for the production of improvised incendiary devices
Brian Altman QC, prosecuting

Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: "This man, who had strong if not fanatical right-wing leanings and opinions, was on the cusp of embarking on a campaign of terrorism against those he considered non-British.

"The defendant had in his possession the component parts of two viable improvised incendiary devices.

"He had the parts which, if assembled together, would have created devices which if ignited would have caught alight and caused flames and fire.

"Later searches of the house where the defendant lived, in particular his own bedroom, revealed nothing short of a factory for the production of many such similar devices."

DAC McDowall said: "Whilst our inquiries did not uncover any details about intended targets, we do not underestimate the impact that Lewington's actions and extremist beliefs may have had on communities nationwide."

'Oddball' defence

During the trial, Lewington was described as a loner who had been unemployed for 10 years after losing his last job owing to drunkenness, and who had not spoken to his father for 10 years.

The defendant spent time searching for girlfriends on chatlines, where he made racist remarks and spoke of converting tennis balls into bombs.

Bomb-making materials
A first search of the home was halted as explosives experts were called

The prosecution told the court how Lewington had said to one woman that "the only good Paki was a dead Paki".

He was a member of the National Front and wanted the Ku Klux Klan brought back, he told women.

David Etherington QC, defending, had argued there was insufficient evidence to say Lewington was a terrorist rather than just an "oddball".

"Is he the real deal? Is he a terrorist or is he just a big pest, a nuisance?" Mr Etherington asked the jury.

He suggested Lewington was a "silly, immature, alcoholic, dysfunctional twit, fantasising to make up for a rather sad life".

But the defendant was convicted of seven out of eight explosives and terrorism charges.

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