Nazi salute soldier jailed over CS gas possession

The serving British soldier and self-confessed racist got a 12 month sentence

The serving British soldier and self-confessed racist got a 12 month sentence

Friday, April 13, 2018

A serving British soldier and self-confessed racist convicted of having a banned CS gas canister has been jailed.

Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen, who stockpiled a host of legally held weaponry, pleaded guilty to possession of the spray, which he kept in the drawer of a home he was renovating.

The 33-year-old also kept a photograph at the property in Llansilin, Powys, Wales which showed him giving a Nazi-type salute at a memorial to his native Finland's independence.

Sentencing him to 12 months for the offence on Friday, Judge Melbourne Inman QC, the Recorder of Birmingham, said Vehvilainen had a "long and deep-seated adherence" to racist ideology.

In evidence, the jury was shown that Vehvilainen, of the Royal Anglian Regiment, had stockpiles of legally held weaponry, including knives, a shotgun and bow and arrows, weapons lists, customised black spray-painted body armour and notebooks containing racist language.

He also had a box of Nazi swastika flags, another pennant pinned to his wardrobe door, and two ceremonial daggers, one inscribed with the symbol of the feared Second World War Nazi paramilitary group the SS.

The married father-of-three was arrested on September 5 2017 at his family accommodation at Sennybridge Camp Army base in Brecon, Powys, Wales.

When detained, he told his wife: "I'm being arrested for being a patriot".

Pavlos Panyai QC, the soldier's barrister, told the trial jury it was "not in dispute he a racist" but that it was not criminal, by itself, to hold such views.

In mitigation, his counsel told the judge: "His career in the Army is over and he leaves having dishonoured himself and, what is more, having brought infamy on himself."

Mr Panayi explained how Vehvilainen's in-laws had been staying with him during the arrest.

He said the soldier's father-in-law suffered a stroke the following day - and died a month later - for which he "bears responsibility". Vehvilainen, who appeared stoic and unmoved throughout the five-week trial, appeared emotional as that fact was read to the court.