Man ad­mits ma­chete plot to murder MP Rosie Cooper

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY EMILY PENNINK Press As­so­ci­a­tion

AN ALLEGED mem­ber of the far-right Na­tional Ac­tion group has ad­mit­ted plot­ting to murder West Lan­cashire’s MP.

Jack Ren­shaw, 23, of Skelmers­dale, bought a Gla­dius Ma­chete to kill Rosie Cooper last sum­mer.

On the open­ing day of his trial at the Old Bai­ley in Lon­don, Ren­shaw pleaded guilty to pre­par­ing acts of ter­ror­ism as well as mak­ing a threat to kill po­lice of­fi­cer Vic­to­ria Hen­der­son.

Judge Mr Jus­tice Jay di­rected the jury to de­liver a for­mal guilty ver­dict on the first two charges that Ren­shaw faces.

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

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.

Open­ing the trial, pros­e­cu­tor Dun­can Atkin­son QC said: “This case con­cerns these de­fen­dants and their sup­port for, in­volve­ment in and mem­ber­ship of the pro­scribed racist neo-Nazi group Na­tional Ac­tion.”

He said Ren­shaw planned to carry out a “po­lit­i­cally and racially mo­ti­vated murder” in sup­port of Na­tional Ac­tion.

They were done “with the bless­ing” of his leader, Lyth­goe, ju­rors heard.

Mr Atkin­son told ju­rors the group had en­gaged in a “cam­paign of vir­u­lent anti-Semitic and ho­mo­pho­bic pro­pa­ganda” since 2013.

It tried to re­cruit and rad­i­calise young peo­ple through vi­o­lent im­ages and “hate-filled lan­guage”.

Its sup­port for the murder of MP Jo Cox in June 2016 led to it be­ing banned, Mr Atkin­son said.

But he said the de­fen­dants re­mained ac­tive mem­bers of the or­gan­i­sa­tion af­ter it was pro­scribed.

Mr Atkin­son said ev­i­dence would come from a “dis­en­chanted” former mem­ber of Na­tional Ac­tion, Rob­bie Mullen, who passed in­for­ma­tion to Hope Not Hate.

The court heard that the de­fen­dants were part of the North West area branch of Na­tional Ac­tion which met at the Friar Pen­keth pub in War­ring­ton.

Lyth­goe re­solved to con­tinue Na­tional Ac­tion af­ter the ban, say­ing in an email last De­cem­ber: “Long term we’ll keep mov­ing for­ward just as we have been.

“We are just shed­ding one skin for an­other.”

Mr Atkin­son said Ren­shaw’s threat of vi­o­lence was per­sonal as well as po­lit­i­cal.

It be­gan with his ar­rest in Jan­uary last year on sus­pi­cion of stir­ring up racial ha­tred in two anti-Semitic speeches in Black­pool and at the York­shire Fo­rum for Na­tion­al­ists.

He was in­ter­viewed by Det Con Vic­to­ria Hen­der­son and an­other of­fi­cer be­fore be­ing re­leased on bail.

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

On July 1 last year, Ren­shaw re­vealed his mur­der­ous plan to Na­tional Ac­tion mem­bers at a meet­ing in the Friar Pen­keth, the court heard.

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

The jury was told that Ren­shaw had also re­searched “cut­ting the jugu­lar artery” on the in­ter­net last May.

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 Det Con Hen­der­son come to the scene.

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

Lyth­goe’s alleged re­sponse to the plan was to tell Ren­shaw: “Don’t f*** it up.”

Rosie Cooper MP was the in­tended tar­get of the murder plot

Court artist sketch of Jack Ren­shaw at The Old Bai­ley

Na­tional Ac­tion was banned af­ter it sup­ported the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox

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