Army veteran found guilty of stirring up racial hatred with anti-Semitic speech

A far-right Army veteran has been found guilty of stirring up racial hatred after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was pressured to reconsider not bringing charges against him.

Monday, 14th May 2018, 3:36 pm
Updated Monday, 14th May 2018, 3:46 pm
Army veteran Jeremy Bedford-Turner at Southwark Crown Court as he has been found guilty of stirring up racial hatred. Photo credit: Sam Blewett/PA Wire

Jeremy Bedford-Turner, 48, called for his "soldiers" to liberate England from "Jewish control" in an address outside Downing Street and blamed Jews for issues ranging from both World Wars to Jack the Ripper.

The CPS declined to prosecute the anti-Semite after an initial complaint but reconsidered the decision after a group brought a legal challenge at the High Court.

Bedford-Turner now faces up to seven years in jail after a jury at Southwark Crown Court found him guilty of one count of stirring up racial hatred following two hours of deliberation on Monday.

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The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said the verdict was a "damning indictment" of the CPS and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders.

The 15-minute speech was made at a rally against Jewish neighbourhood watch group Shomrim in Whitehall, central London, on July 4 2015.

Bedford-Turner, who served for 12 years in the Army speaking Pashtu and Arabic, told the crowd: "Let's free England from Jewish control. Let's liberate this land.

"Listen, soldiers, listen to me. It's time to liberate our country."

Under cross-examination during his two-day trial attended by dozens of supporters, Bedford-Turner admitted wanting all Jews to leave the UK.

Prosecutor Louis Mably QC said the defendant was "absolutely obsessed" with Jewish people and that he "despises" them.

The CAA took the "unusual step" of bringing a judicial review after prosecutors declined to charge Bedford-Turner following an initial complaint.

The CPS then said in March last year that it would get a more senior lawyer to review the case, and decided to press charges.

The CAA celebrated the jury's decision and criticised Ms Saunders, claiming the CPS previously said there was no prospect a jury would find Bedford-Turner guilty.

CAA chairman Gideon Falter said: "It's a damning indictment on her competence and on the CPS's ability to defend British Jews.

"It should never have been needed for us to fight this case and we certainly should not have had to fight a DPP who at times appeared determined to defend this neo-Nazi's right to incite hatred against British Jews."

Bedford-Turner's supporters again attended the court to hear the verdict.

"Nice knowing you, chaps," he told them before entering the dock.

The case of Bedford-Turner, of no fixed address, was adjourned until Monday afternoon when the judge will decide whether to sentence him at a later date.