Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen, who was convicted after a trial in March of being a member of neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action, and was jailed for eight years
A British Army veteran who fought in Afghanistan and was described as an ‘outstanding’ soldier was at the heart of a neo-Nazi terrorist group which set its sights on recruiting from within the armed forces, it can be revealed today.
White supremacist and self-confessed racist Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen, 34, believed a ‘race war’ was coming and tried to establish an all-white armed stronghold in Powys, Wales, a court heard.
The Royal Anglian Regiment soldier who served with distinction since 2012 was convicted of being a member of National Action, and was jailed for eight years.
He was kicked out of the Army after his arrest in September 2017, along with another soldier, as he tried to form an underground network and stockpiled weapons.
Two other serving soldiers faced criminal charges but were internally disciplined and remained in the Army.
The Army’s most senior soldier, Sergeant Major Glenn Haughton, posting a social media video which said: ‘If you’re a serving soldier or a would-be soldier, and you hold these intolerant and extremist views, as far as I’m concerned, there is no place for you in the British Army – so get out.’
The soldier’s case has not been able to be reported until today until six others, connected through the terror organisation which has been banned in Britain since December 2016, had also been to trial.
Alexander Deakin, the group’s ‘regional commander’ was jailed for eight years in April 2018.
Today, Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas from Oxfordshire, who named their baby Adolf Hitler, were found guilty of being members of the group.
Vehvilainen believed a ‘race war’ was coming and attempted to recruit soldiers in the British Army. He was pictured performing a Nazi salute in his native Finland
Mikko Vehvilainen, now 34, who joined the Army in 2012 was previously known as an ‘outstanding soldier’ and boxer but he was jailed for eight years in March. Pictured above, believed to be in Afghanistan
Adam Thomas wearing the hooded white robes of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) whilst brandishing a machete in front of a KKK flag at his home in Oxfordshire. Thomas, 22, and his partner Claudia Patatas, 38, have been found guilty of being members of the extreme right-wing organisation National Action
Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas from Oxfordshire, who named their baby Adolf Hitler, were found guilty of being members of the group
Thomas’s close friend Darren Fletcher, 28, of Wednesfield, West Midlands, Joel Wilmore, 24, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, and Nathan Pryke, 26, of March, Cambridgeshire all admitted being part of the group at the beginning of their trial.
They will all be sentenced on December 14.
Another solider, fellow 2 Anglians soldier Private Mark Barrett, was acquitted of being a National Action member, but jurors heard that he had a cardboard swastika openly displayed in his window at Alexander Barracks in Cyprus.
The 25-year-old told police during interviews that his sketchbook doodles of the Nazi symbol and Second World War German tanks had been at the behest of ‘intimidating’ Vehvilainen.
Vehvilainen and Barrett, formerly of Kendrew Barracks, Cottesmore, Rutland, were thrown out of the Army.
Jailing Vehvilainen in March, Judge Melbourne Inman QC told the veteran he had a ‘long and deep-seated adherence’ to racist ideology.
Now, details of how National Action followers were planning their ‘battle’ have emerged now other cases have been completed.
A which Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen, 33, practiced knife throwing on was made with foil and old Army uniform (pictured). He also kept swastika bunting, an SS ceremonial dagger and a ‘crudely made’ electromagnetic pulse (EMP) device capable of inflicting serious wounds
At the soldier’s home officers found weapons including guns, large knives, ammunition and knuckle dusters. He was attempting to recruit others to form an armed group for terror organisation National Action in Wales
Vehvilainen’s weaponry, including an SS dagger (bottom row, second from left) was found when police searched his home as they investigated his links to the banned extremist organisation
What is National Action? How ‘racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic’ far-right group became the first to be outlawed since WWII
National Action (NA) was founded in August 2013 by Benjamin Raymond and Alex Davies.
Raymond was a politics graduate from the University of Essex, then living in Bognor Regis.
He immersed himself in a disturbing online world of right-wing content. Raymond backed calls for a ‘nationwide fascist army’.
Davies was a University of Warwick student and British National Party member when he became involved in National Action.
He was once quoted as saying ‘I don’t want to say what I’d do to Jews, it’s too extreme’, while Raymond had said: ‘There are non-whites and Jews in my country who all need to be exterminated’, adding he ‘loved Hitler’.
Both men worried that the right-wing of politics had become diluted and founded National Action as an uncompromising National Socialist outfit.
The group’s logo borrowed heavily from the Second World War Nazi organisation the SA.
NA was also known for its slick propaganda on social media, but also leaflets and stickers, with mottos such as ‘White Jihad’ and ‘Britain is ours – the rest must go’.
Experts have described NA as ‘potentially the most dangerous… of any fascist movement to appear in the UK for many years’.
The group itself would proclaim in August 2015, that ‘only bullets will stop us’.
Its first demonstration was a banner drop in Birmingham in November 2013.
Black-clad members donned face coverings, warning of race war and pushing the conspiracy that an elite was bent on destroying the white population through immigration.
Islamic State, Pol Pot’s brutal Khmer Roughe and Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik all served to inspire the organisation.
Senior member Matthew Hankinson said the group would see that ‘traitors’ ended up ‘hanging from lampposts’ and said if innocent people are hurt in the process ‘so be it’.
The organisation hit headlines when members voiced support for the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016 by Thomas Mair, with its North East division’s Twitter account stating: ‘Vote Leave – don’t let this man’s sacrifice be in vain.
The organisation even took Mair’s outburst at his trial – ‘death to traitors, freedom for Britain’ – as its slogan on its former website.
Members attended demonstrations along with other far right groups, in places like York, Liverpool, Darlington and Newcastle.
At its height it had between 70-100 members, recruiting mainly young people aged 15-29, but also trying – and succeeding in at least one case – to attract members of the Armed Forces.
It was banned by Home Secretary Amber Rudd on December 16, 2016 after a series of incidents, including its voicing support for the murder of Jo Cox.
The group had not carried out any terrorist attacks but was linked to a plot to kill Labour MP Rosie Cooper.
In total, 10 people have now been convicted or admitted membership of the terrorist group.
When searching two properties, police discovered Vehvilainen kept swastika bunting, an SS ceremonial dagger and a ‘crudely made’ electromagnetic pulse (EMP) device at his home.
Officers also discovered a swastika flag, Adolf Hitler stickers, and a CD containing Third Reich music at his properties in Brecon and Llansilin, Powys.
Machetes, knuckledusters, a crossbow with arrows, a large knife and a hammer were also recovered from the properties.
He had a picture at the property in Llansilin, which showed him giving a Nazi-type salute at a memorial to his native Finland’s independence, in 1917.
Earlier this year, a Birmingham Crown Court jury cleared him of possession of a terrorism document – the Anders Breivik manifesto. Breivik killed 77 people in two attacks in Norway in 2011.
He was also found not guilty on two counts of stirring up racial hatred relating to forum posts on a white nationalist website.
However he was jailed in March for being a member of National Action.
Before his conviction, Vehvilainen was considered an ‘outstanding’ soldier and Army boxer who had risked his life for Queen and country.
Vehvilainen had been a key part of National Action’s strategy of attempting to grow its membership within the armed forces.
Vehvilainen, a married father-of-three, lived at Sennybridge Camp, Powys, Wales, but was renovating a home he had bought in the village of Llansilin, in efforts to build a whites-only stronghold.
It was in that house police found his collection.
Officers also uncovered what prosecutors described as an arsenal of weapons, including a warhammer, a legally held shotgun, swastika bunting and other Nazi paraphernalia.
In the garage of his house at Sennybridge, he kept a makeshift target dummy, and body armour which had been spray-painted black.
He had a part-time job at an activity centre nearby, and had served with distinction since joining the Army in 2012, until his arrest in September 2017.
His sentencing hearing was told he ‘served his country and risked his life in Afghanistan’, and was considered ‘an outstanding soldier’.
Pavlos Panayi QC told the trial judge: ‘His career in the Army is over and he leaves having brought dishonour on himself and what is more, infamy.’
Today, a mother and father who named their baby after Adolf Hitler were convicted of being members of a neo-Nazi group.
Amazon security guard Adam Thomas, 22, and his girlfriend, Claudia Patatas, 38, are facing up to 10 years in jail after being found guilty of being part of banned extreme right group National Action, today.
A search of the couple’s Oxfordshire home uncovered Nazi memorabilia, a Ku Klux Klan outfit and an arsenal of deadly weapons including crossbows, machetes and axes. They will be sentenced at a later date.
On the day of Vehvilainen’s arrest in September 2017, his father-in-law was at home and the resulting shock caused him to suffer a stroke, and he died a month later.
Mr Panayi said: ‘The defendant will always have that on his conscience.’
When he was arrested, Vehvilainen told his wife: ‘I’m being arrested for being a patriot.’
He admitted possession of a banned pepper spray before his trial, but was cleared of having a document useful to a terrorist and two counts of stirring up racial hatred in forum posts on the website Christogenea.org.
Joel Wilmore, 24, (left) admitted membership of neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action, which was banned in 2016. Alexander Deakin, 24, (right) was known as the ‘regional commander’ of the National Action group. He believed he could not be caught by police
A jacket bearing a Swastika armband found during police searches of Adam Thomas and Claudia Patatas’ home. The couple have been found guilty of having a role in National Action
Claudia Patatas leaves Birmingham Crown Court this afternoon, November 12, after being found guilty of being a member of National Action
The Press Association asked the Ministry of Defence how many members of the armed forces had been disciplined for involvement in far-right extremism in the year to December 2017.
The MoD was unable to provide information on how many had faced court martial or internal disciplinary procedures, because the data was not recorded by the Royal Military Police database.
It added that a manual check of the database would be cost-prohibitive.
In a statement provided with its freedom of information response, the MoD said: ‘Extremist ideology is completely at odds with the values and ethos of the armed forces.
‘The armed forces have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting extremist views are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve.
‘All allegations of unacceptable behaviour are investigated and action taken as appropriate.’
All Armed Forces personnel are subject to vetting during recruitment, to establish previous convictions or existing links to extremist or banned organisations.
All ranks receive training on the standards expected of the forces, with annual refreshers.
Following conviction, Colonel Graham Taylor, of the Army Personnel Services Group, said: ‘Far right ideology is completely at odds with the values and standards of the Army and whilst we are only talking about a very small number of cases we take this issue very seriously.
‘We have robust measures in place, including during the recruitment process, to ensure those exhibiting extremist views are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve.
‘Any soldier receiving a custodial sentence will be discharged from the Army.’
National Action ‘regional commander’ found cowering in a cupboard after bragging police would never find him
National Action regional commander Alexander Deakin was arrested while cowering in an airing cupboard after bragging that ‘incompetent’ counter-terrorism officers would never catch him.
The bungling 24-year-old unemployed student, who styled himself a ‘prisoner of conscience,’ joked that he would need to buy large quantities of dangerous chemicals to catch the attention of counter-terrorism unit (CTU) officers.
But his role as Midlands regional organiser and senior National Action member was uncovered when he was caught on CCTV, along with others, putting up racially offensive stickers on Aston University campus.
Details of his case and that of self-confessed racist and Army Corporal Mikko Vehvilainen were subject to reporting restrictions but can now be revealed after the conclusion of the latest National Action prosecutions.
Deakin was sentenced to 12 months for inciting racial hatred with the stickers, which had slogans including ‘White Zone’ and ‘Britain is ours – the rest must go’.
He was also among the first people to be convicted after a trial earlier this year of being members of National Action, which was banned in December 2016.
He was jailed for eight years on April 13, with Judge Melbourne Inman QC telling Deakin he was ‘deeply committed to the most extreme racist views’.
In rants on encrypted chat app Telegram, Deakin told fellow NA members that in a future ‘race war’, the organisation would have a ‘KKK (Ku Klux Klan)-themed death squad’.
Also jailed alongside Deakin, of Becon Road, Great Barr, was then serving British soldier Vehvilainen, of Sennybridge Camp, Powys, Wales.
He was sent to prison for eight years for terrorist group membership.
Their trial heard of Deakin’s contempt for UK counter-terrorism officers.
In a Skype conversation at the end of 2015, he told one activist: ‘CTU are incompetent to f*** anyway.’
‘I’d have to start buying up large quantities of ammonium nitrate to draw their attention.
‘In fact I doubt they even know I’m part of National Action.’
He later bragged about evading the authorities by using encrypted emails and chat messengers services.
Deakin bragged police would never find him but was discovered inside cupboard
But Deakin , who ran his operations from his bedroom at his parents’ home, was found by West Midlands CTU officers hiding in a cupboard at an address in Moseley.
And the former University of Aberystwyth and University of Coventry student was reduced to telling comrades that electronic devices full of incriminating messages, images and material had fallen into the police’s hands.
In the encrypted email he sent out the day after his arrest on May 4 2017, he wrote: ‘That night I was staying at a friend’s house and at 0945 they let themselves into his apartment.
‘I was intoxicated at the time and so acted irrationally by hiding in an airing cupboard.’
He added: ‘As I wasn’t at home during the raid they were able to seize the computer and hard-drive with everything therein.’
Deakin said: ‘Seized phone is full of texts that will mark me as an organiser.
‘I can understand if you despise me for this sloppiness (it really couldn’t have been any worse if I tried) but I really need you to get back to me as soon as possible and advise me on what to do.’