A former member of Britain’s Ukip (UK Independence) Party and self-declared fascist and neo-Nazi has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for terrorism offenses, according to a police statement.
Dean Morrice, 34, was a former driver in the British army and was a member of the Ukip Party, a right-wing political party led by Nigel Farage. However, he had left a few years ago and became increasingly more radical in recent years.
During his trial, despite denying the charges levied against him, Morrice described his current political views by saying: “I think it’s fair to say I have fascist and neo-Nazi views,” the BBC reported. Originally he had described himself as “apolitical,” but later admitted to having lied to police as, according to him, he thought his right-wing views were illegal.
Though he claimed he did not advocate for violence or wish to encourage terrorism, Morrice was nonetheless charged and convicted on 10 counts of terrorism, which included disseminating terrorist publications, encouraging terrorism and possessing explosive substances.
Upon his arrest in his home in Paulton on August 20, 2020, Morrice was discovered to be in possession of manifestos of far-right extremist terrorists and had a video of the Christchurch mosque shooting, with a clip of himself playing the guitar as the massacre took place superimposed in the video.
Morrice had also been using the messaging app Telegram to share messages, memes and videos. According to prosecutors, a Telegram channel he operated was used to “unapologetically, unambiguously pumped out” violent neo-Nazi propaganda that called for the murder of Jews and minorities, The Guardian reported.
According to police, Morrice was also in possession of a 3D printer, and evidence shows he was trying to use it to construct a weapon.
Despite his stated political views, Morrice did not refer to himself as a terrorist, and called himself a patriot.
This claim was shot down, however, by Judge Peter Lodder.
“You have described yourself as a patriot. You are not a patriot, you are a dangerous neo-Nazi, your bigotry and hatred is abhorrent to the overwhelming majority in this country,” the judge said, according to The Guardian.
Lodder further condemned Morrice for a total lack of remorse.
“You attempted to fool the jury into thinking that you are a family-orientated, caring man who was simply trying to find friends… Yet you revealed in the Christchurch mosque massacre in which children as young as three years old were murdered, and glorified [Anders Behring Breivik] who slaughtered more than 30 children in Norway,” he said, according to The Guardian.
Morrice’s sentence is for 18 years custodial, with the additional five years being for what the judge dubbed his “dangerousness.”
The evidence seems to point that Morrice may have been planning to carry out acts of terrorism, and has also indicated that he actively encouraged others to do so. However, “While he evidently had the intent to equip himself with harmful substances and a weapon, there is no reason to believe any attack was imminent,” Chief Inspector Steve Kendall, area commander for Bath and North East Somerset, said in a statement.
This sentencing comes days after the conviction of another high-profile UK neo-Nazi case. Late last week, alleged neo-Nazi and white supremacist Andrew Dymock was convicted of 15 terrorism charges, and will be sentenced later this month.
Though Dymock was not found with weapons, he was charged for founding two now-banned far-right extremist groups and his publication of several articles sharing homophobic and antisemitic content such as calling Jews a “cancer” and calling for a “racial holy war.”
However, Dymock maintains his innocence, and says he was framed by an ex-partner linked to the UK neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action. He added that he was, in fact, bisexual and leaning towards gay, in response to the accusations of homophobia. The court did not believe this, however, and convicted him regardless.