Far-right pair jailed for encouraging copycat terror attacks
23 October 2019, 22:49
Two far-right extremists who incited copycat terror attacks on a WhatsApp group in the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque shootings have been jailed.
Morgan Seales, 20, and Gabriele Longo, 26, communicated on a WhatsApp group set up shortly after the attacks in Christchurch in March which claimed 51 lives.
The group chat was designed to encourage users to copy the accused gunman with further attacks on Muslims, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Within 90 minutes of joining the group, Longo was offering to post files from his online library of bomb-making instructions, which he then did the following day.
When one contributor wrote "let's kill some Muslims", Longo replied: "Or Jews."
In a separate post, Seales wrote: "The best time to attack a mosque is Friday prayers or a wedding. Everyone there at once."
The court was told that Seales suffered from a personality disorder and had a "very difficult childhood" in which he battled anxiety and depression with the aid of children's services but had "fallen through the net" of adult support services.
Judge Bayliss said Longo, from Crawley, West Sussex, was "something of an enigma" as little was known about him but he was satisfied he was "deeply radicalised".
Both defendants were convicted by a jury of encouraging terrorism, possessing material for terrorist purposes and collecting or making a record of information useful to a terrorist.
Longo, of Burdock Close, was jailed for six years and Seales, of Turner Avenue, was given a four-year term.
Judge Bayliss told both men that their "personal inadequacies and isolation" explained to some extent why they engaged in the group chats.
He added: "Both of you were in danger of indoctrinating others in that group chat. There were some very young people, some as young as 14.
"Your activity posed not only a threat to Muslims who were your potential victims but also a threat to everyone in our democratic society."