Race hate internet warrior leaves prison

by Sonia Gable | Sunday, 15 May 2011

One of the first two Britons to be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred on the internet is being released this week after serving less than half his sentence. However he will face stringent restrictions on his liberty.

Simon Sheppard, 53, will be classed as a Multi Agency Public Protection Agency level 3 offender because of the high risk he poses to the public. According to Eddy Morrison writing on the website of the tiny nazi British People’s Party, he will be sent to a bail hostel “with a load of sex offenders/paedophiles”.

Morrison, a veteran nazi from Leeds who also supports the slightly larger National Front, complains that Sheppard will face a roll call twice a day, be subject to scrutiny by senior police and probation officers and be banned from using the internet.

Sheppard was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court in July 2008 of 11 counts of publishing racially inflammatory material on his Heretical Press website. His co-defendant Stephen Whittle, who used the pseudonym Luke O’Farrell, was found guilty of five counts of publishing racially inflammatory material in articles he wrote for Sheppard’s site.

The prosecution was novel in that the Heretical Press site is hosted in the USA. British nazis had believed that if they hosted their racist ravings on US web servers they would be immune from prosecution. Sheppard’s conviction undermined that confidence, sending shock waves through British fascism.

After the jury returned verdicts on some of the charges the men were released on bail over the weekend to return to court on the Monday. Instead they fled to the United States where they sought asylum using the USA’s free speech laws, claiming they were being persecuted by the British government. After an immigration judge threw out their case they were held at Santa Ana prison in California for ten months until their extradition.

In January 2009, Sheppard was convicted in his absence of five further charges. Two of them related to two editions of an anti-Jewish publication titled Don’t Be Sheeple, the second of which was produced after Sheppard had been charged for the other offences. Morrison had wrongly advised Sheppard that it would not contravene race relations legislation.

In July 2009, Sheppard was jailed for four years and ten months while Whittle received a sentence of two years and four months. Significantly their convictions were upheld by the Court of Appeal but their sentences were reduced in January 2010, Sheppard’s by one year and Whittle’s by six months.

Whittle, 44, was released on licence last year under the same conditions that Sheppard now faces, but is understood to have been returned to prison because he was allegedly caught on the internet.

Sheppard is likely to feel at home among sex offenders and paedophiles. Alongside the racist and nazi material, Sheppard’s online publishing took in a hatred of women and a morbid fixation with cannibalism.

The investigation into the pair began when police received a complaint about a viciously antisemitic comic strip that denied the Holocaust. Copies of Tales of the Holohoax were mailed to the Blackpool Reform Synagogue in 2004. Its first page consisted of a cartoon captioned “Alice in lampshade land”. It was traced back to a post office box in Hull registered to Sheppard.

Other articles over which Sheppard was charged included “Auschwitz: The Holiday Camp for Kikes”, “Evil Zionist Kikes” and “Kike Windchimes”. The jury was also asked to deliberate on several cartoon strips by the American cartoonist Robert Crumb drawn during the 1960s and reproduced on Sheppard’s site, including “When the goddamn Jews take over America!” and “When the niggers take over America!”. Sheppard also published vile material by George Lincoln Rockwell, the leader of the American Nazi Party (ANP), including the “Coon-ard Lines Boat Ticket to Africa” and spoof “year’s supply of instant nigger” advertisement.

One leaflet claimed that Auschwitz had not been the location of mass genocide but was instead a holiday camp provided by a benevolent Nazi regime for Europe’s Jewish population. Another story was illustrated with photographs of dead Jews. Sheppard also wrote that the diary of Anne Frank was “evil”.

During the trial, the prosecutor, Jonathan Sandiford, told that jury that Sheppard and Whittle were “a pair of racists” who held “fairly extreme views about people who were Jewish, black, Asian, Chinese, Indian and, in reality, anyone who wasn’t white”.

He continued: “People in this country are entitled to be racist and they are entitled to hold unpleasant points of view, but what they aren’t entitled to do is publish or distribute written material which is insulting, threatening or abusive and is intended to stir up racial hatred or is likely to do so.”

Sheppard has a history of similar offences. He was jailed in the Netherlands in 1995 for Holocaust denial and received a nine-month sentence in June 1999 for distributing antisemitic leaflets in Hull with Dave Hannam. At the time both were British National Party activists. Sheppard was expelled from the BNP, but Hannam, who was jailed for three months, went on to become the BNP’s treasurer and a close confidant of party leader Nick Griffin, who himself has a conviction for inciting racial hatred.

Until his latest period in custody, as well as maintaining his own Heretical Press site, Sheppard made himself indispensable as the front man and registrant for a number of far-right websites including the notorious Redwatch, an online “hit list” that publishes names and addresses of political opponents under the banner: “Remember places, traitors’ faces, they’ll all pay for their crimes”. Redwatch is also hosted in the USA as are several other British nazi websites.

| top | back | home |
Share |