Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 15:49 UK

Neo-Nazi jailed over terror plot

Neil Lewington
Neil Lewington's counsel had claimed he was an oddball, not a terrorist

A white supremacist found guilty of planning a racist terror campaign involving home-made bombs has been given an indeterminate sentence.

An Old Bailey judge said Neil Lewington, 44, from Reading, Berkshire, must serve at least six years in jail.

He was convicted in July of having explosives with intent to endanger life and preparing for acts of terrorism.

The trial heard Lewington planned to target Asian families with tennis ball shrapnel bombs made in his bedroom.


On sentencing him, judge Peter Thornton said: "You are a dangerous man, somebody who exhibits emotional coldness and detachment.

"You would not have been troubled by the prospect of endangering somebody's life."

Lewington was arrested last October on a train at Lowestoft station in Suffolk, after he had been abusing a female train conductor.

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


Neil Lewington caught on CCTV - first broadcast July 2009

The judge said these had been made "to a very high standard".

"These were dangerous firebombs, meticulously constructed, all set to go," he said.

Later investigation of his bedroom at his parents' home in Tilehurst, Berkshire, 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.

He also kept video tapes about right-wing extremists, including London nailbomber David Copeland and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh - who murdered 168 people when he blew up a US government building in 1995.

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 also not spoken to his father for a decade.

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

This action was designed to intimidate non-white people and it was for the purpose of pursuing the ideological cause of white supremacy and neo-fascism
Peter Thornton, Old Bailey judge

His defence QC had argued Lewington was just an "oddball" and was not a terrorist, but merely "a big pest, a nuisance".

But the judge told Lewington: "You were in the process of embarking upon terrorist activity.

"You were going to use or threaten action involving either serious violence to people or serious damage to property.

"This action was designed to intimidate non-white people and it was for the purpose of pursuing the ideological cause of white supremacy and neo-fascism, albeit in a rather unsophisticated way."

Lewington was convicted of seven out of eight explosives and terrorism charges.

He will serve at least six years, but even then can only be released if the parole board considers he is no longer a threat to the public.

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