Lancashire army veteran jailed for hailing Jo Cox killer a 'hero'

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He also reposted still images of the March 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand and attempted to share live-streamed footage taken by the perpetrator.

An Army veteran who encouraged terrorism by glorifying the murderer of MP Jo Cox has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Kieran Turner, 37, of Earby, Lancashire, published a statement in January 2019 calling for "650 Thomas Mair’s" (sic) and hailing the terrorist killer as a "hero".

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He also reposted still images of the March 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand and attempted to share live-streamed video footage taken by the perpetrator.

Joe Allman, prosecuting, told Manchester Crown Court the case arose out of the defendant’s activities on the Gab online platform where he described himself as "British Army veteran English Nationalist".

Kieran Turner has been sentenced for making statements celebrating Jo Cox's murderer (Credit: CPS / SWNS)Kieran Turner has been sentenced for making statements celebrating Jo Cox's murderer (Credit: CPS / SWNS)
Kieran Turner has been sentenced for making statements celebrating Jo Cox's murderer (Credit: CPS / SWNS) | CPS / SWNS

Turner had an "impressionable audience" of 773 followers on his publicly accessible account and he in turn followed 213 users, the court was told.

His criminality was uncovered when officers examined a Samsung tablet discovered under his bed when he was arrested at his home in Earlesdown Avenue in November 2021, said Mr Allman.

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The prosecutor said Turner used the platform to share and re-share material which expressed "virulent" misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic views, as well as displaying extreme racism, Islamophobia and "deep hostility" towards Jewish people.

Mr Allman said the comment about the Batley and Spen MP's murder in June 2016 was made in reply to a post from another platform user and included a reference to the number of members of Parliament and the hashtag "ThomasMairHero".

The court heard that prosecutors did not accept Turner's explanation that his posts were intended to be humorous (Credit:  SWNS.com)The court heard that prosecutors did not accept Turner's explanation that his posts were intended to be humorous (Credit:  SWNS.com)
The court heard that prosecutors did not accept Turner's explanation that his posts were intended to be humorous (Credit: SWNS.com) | SWNS.com

Turner had also reposted a link to the Christchurch mass murderer's "manifesto".

Commenting on the video footage the defendant wrote: “Cheers. Just the thing to put a smile on my face before heading to work this morning.”

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In another post, he said: “It should be on repeat on ITV every couple of hours instead of Jeremy Kyle.”

Mr Allman said the Crown did not accept Turner's explanation that his postings were intended to be humorous.

Turner pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to one count of encouraging terrorism, two counts of disseminating terrorist publications and seven counts of stirring up racial hatred between January 2019 and September 2020.

On Thursday, Turner received an extended sentence and must serve two years and eight months in custody followed by a period of 12 months on extended licence.

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Judge Alan Conrad KC told him: "I find you were at least reckless as to whether other people would act on your opinions.

"The danger in these cases is that there is a risk that one person could act on these posts with terrible consequences."

He noted that Turner, who had no previous convictions, was more prone to radicalisation because of his diagnosed autism spectrum disorder.

Sarah Day, defending, said Turner had features of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following his time in the armed forces and had also suffered from depression.

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She said: "He very much now recognises what he has done and is genuinely ashamed and remorseful for it.

"It is quite clear that he has taken steps to move himself away from that behaviour and that mindset."