Banned far right group accused of plotting to kill Labour MP was “like a cult”

Warning a Labour MP she was the target of a murder plot was the “first priority” of anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate when it was tipped off by a disenchanted Neo Nazi, a court heard.

Robbie Mullen approached Hope Not Hate under the alias Luke Harrington about the alleged plot by banned far right group National Action, the Old Bailey was told.

The court heard National Action was “like a cult”.

Mullen regularly met the group’s head of research Matthew Collins and passed on details of a plot to murder MP Rosie Cooper and Detective Constable Victoria Henshaw, the trial was told.

As the mole, Mr Mullen was brought in for police questioning and Hope Not Hate paid for his solicitor and also ensured they would do everything in their power to protect him if his identity was revealed, jurors heard.

Mr Collins, previously a member of the National Front and the British National Party before he joined the left wing organisation, bonded with the Neo Nazi mole and even bought him a football ticket to see Manchester United play Crystal Palace froma box at Old Trafford, the court was told.

The pair, joined by director Nick Knowles, also went on a trip to Dublin, jurors heard.

Mr Collins said: “We received an email that said he had useful information concerning the actions of National Action and I was instructed to follow it.

“He emailed our office to say that National Action had a gym in a warehouse in Warrington.

“That was news to us and we were aware that National Action were quite sophisticated so it was a surprise but not a shock.

“He (Robbie Mullen) could not leave the group: it was like a cult and he wanted out and that was why he came to us.

“After the police made the arrests of the defendants he was at home and they went to his house knocked on his front door and said ‘your life is at great risk’ and then got in the car drove off and left him there.

“We were particularly at pains to get him away from his home.

“We took him to Dublin and he watch Nick and I get very drunk and he was drinking coke.”

When asked if he had been paid for the information he provided, Mr Collins replied: “He is probably financially worse off.

“We took him on under the title of researcher.

”We were looking to build a relationship as such so that after a period of time Robbie Mullen could go back into a civil society without being a member of a cult-like group.

“A cult-like organisation which he was desperate to get away.

“He felt like he had to go (to regular meetings), he felt like he could not not go.

“All he wanted to do was live in his house in Runcorn with his dog.”

He added: “I tell everyone who works for us, who passes us information, that if everything goes wrong that we will do everything in our power to protect them and protect their identity.

“One of the reasons he came to us is because he did not want to become a police grass.

“We knew that the police would want to get someone inside National Action as well.

“I met Robbie frequently, particularly when he was constantly being taken into custody, that was why we got him a solicitor.”

The Old Bailey heard that Jack Renshaw had posted a “goodbye” message on Facebook, expressing anger and claiming “it was all going to be over soon”.

Referring to Jack Renshaw’s Facebook posts, Nick Knowles, director of Hope Not Hate said: “It was like a goodbye message.

“He was saying he was tired and angry and that it was all going to be over soon.

“One of his friends had offered to go for a drink at the weekend and he said that he was spending time with his family and that he was sorry for what he had put them through.”

He added: “Our first priority was to warn Rosie Cooper.

“It was a severe enough threat.”

Christopher Lythgoe, Renshaw and four other defendants all deny membership of National Action between December 2016 and September 2017.

The other accused are: Michal Trubini, 35, from Warrington; Garron Helm, 24, from Seaforth, Merseyside; Andrew Clarke, 33, from Prescot, Merseyside; and Matthew Hankinson, 24, from Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside.

The trial continues.


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