Man pleads guilty over plot to murder Labour's Rosie Cooper

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

An alleged member of the banned neo-Nazi group National Action has pleaded guilty to plotting to murder an MP, a court has heard.

Jack Renshaw, 23, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, is accused of planning a terrorist attack after buying a 19inch long Gladius Machete to kill Labour's Rosie Cooper last summer.

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

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

Lythgoe allegedly told him: "Don't f*** it up."

The murderous scheme was foiled by disenchanted former National Action member Robbie Mullen who reported the threat to Hope Not Hate, 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 told jurors: "It is important to recognise from the outset that these defendants are not being prosecuted for their racist or neo-Nazi beliefs, however repulsive they may be, but for their participation in a banned organisation that sought actively through fear, intimidation and the threat of violence rather than through free speech and democracy to shape society."

The court heard how they were 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.

Lythgoe allegedly resolved to continue National Action after the ban in December 2016, saying in an e-mail: "We are just shedding one skin for another."

Mr Atkinson said Renshaw's violent plan was hatched following his arrest in January last year on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred.