Anti-Muslim white supremacist who amassed a bomb factory avoids terror charges

30th Nov 2018
Anti-Muslim white supremacist who amassed a bomb factory avoids terror charges

(Photo: commons/wikimedia)

Harun Nasrullah

A far-right extremist who turned his Bristol home into a bomb factory has not been charged with terrorism-related offences, despite waging a white supremacist anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant social media campaign.

Matthew Glynn, 37, had filled a tennis ball with explosives to be thrown like a grenade, a hand-held device covered in ball bearings and made a cylindrical bomb.

Despite following a number of far-right groups and posting a series of anti-Muslim posts on social media authorities discounted Glynn had a “terrorist motive”.

The decision not to charge Glynn with terrorist offences will raise questions for police and prosecutors about whether white supremacist suspects are being treated differently from their Muslim counterparts.

The charges that Glynn pleaded guilty to at Bristol Crown Court on October 31 include making explosives at his home in Horfield from a period that began in 2016.

His bomb factory was considered so dangerous that his street in Horfield, Bristol, was evacuated for four days while it was dismantled.

From 2015 until last year Glynn shared Islamophobic, white nationalist and anti-immigrant Facebook posts. Among the groups he liked were Britain First, which has since been banned from Facebook, and the Oath Keepers, an American far-right organisation.

He also shared an article by Knights Templar International, which has been promoted by British far-right leaders including Nick Griffin, the former leader of the British National Party.

He liked anti-Muslim Facebook pages including World Against Islamism and Stop Islamification Wake Up World.

In August 2015 he shared a post that said, ‘Snow – the only thing that settles here . . . and doesn’t claim f***ing benefits’. He also shared posts which advocated banning school trips to mosques and that refugees were not welcome in Britain.

His final open post was made in February 2017 when he shared a cartoon image of a baby in a nappy carrying a sword, with the caption ‘English born English bred 100% English and proud’. It was produced by a far-right website.

Avon and Somerset police would not comment on the case.

It is understood that police noted much of the far-right material was two years old and therefore not necessarily a reflection of Glynn’s current views. It is understood that prosecutors felt a link between the views indicated on his social media accounts and his bomb-making activity could not be proven, meaning the threshold for more serious terror plot charges, such as possessing the explosives with intent to endanger life, was not reached.
The Terrorism Act 2000 defines terrorism as threats or action with the purpose of “advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause”.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was “insufficient evidence” to charge him with a terrorism offence but refused to comment further.

A spokesperson for the CPS explained: “Glynn was charged with making an explosive device, possession of a regulated substance and possession of a prohibited weapon. There was insufficient evidence to charge any terrorism offences.”

The terrorism threshold requires that a device was constructed for the “purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause”.

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said: “There have long been concerns that when Muslims are involved, crimes are more likely to be deemed as a form of terrorism. Such concerns are only amplified when individuals with a history of Islamophobia and caught with explosives, are not charged with terrorism offences. Justice needs to be done and be seen to be done. We will be calling the next Independent Reviewer to look into parity of treatment and give confidence that everyone is treated fairly.”

Assistant Judge Advocate General, Alan Large, remanded Glynn in custody pending a probation report which will shed more light on his offences. He is due to be sentenced on December 14.

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