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Teenager who planned to attack synagogue is jailed for eight years

An artist’s impression of Mason Reynolds who created a detailed plan to carry out an attack on a synagogue in Hove, East Sussex (Elizabeth Cook/PA)
An artist’s impression of Mason Reynolds who created a detailed plan to carry out an attack on a synagogue in Hove, East Sussex (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

A teenage neo-Nazi has been jailed for eight years for creating a detailed plan to carry out a suicide bomb attack on a synagogue because he wanted “to make Jews afraid again”.

Mason Reynolds, 19, from Brighton, was convicted at trial of possession of an article connected with the preparation of an act of terrorism against the synagogue in Hove, East Sussex.

He had also pleaded guilty to five counts of possessing material likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, as well as five offences of sharing terrorist publications dating back to when he was aged 16.

The defendant had shared right-wing videos and possessed bomb instruction manuals, Winchester Crown Court heard.

The court was told that Reynolds had annotated a Google street map and satellite image of the synagogue detailing “entry points and points to attack”.

Naomi Parsons, prosecuting, said: “Whilst preparation is described as limited, it is not absent, for Mr Reynolds had a neo-Nazi mindset and he had prepared an extensive library of manuals, explosives manuals, gun-making manuals.”

She added: “There was the potential to endanger many lives, he included references to the days when the the synagogue would be busiest, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover.”

Ms Parsons continued: “He had an entrenched and violent neo-Nazi mindset and had expressed an intention to commit terrorist acts – I wanna strap multiple pipe bombs to my chest and blow myself up in a synagogue.

Winchester Law Courts
Mason Reynolds was on trial at Winchester Crown Court (Alamy/PA)

“He knew that those he communicated with shared that mindset.”

Ms Parsons said that Reynolds used the Telegram social media site to encourage others with his “propaganda channel to promote the neo-Nazi agenda” and he posted that he wanted to “make Jews afraid again”.

He also possessed recorded live-streamed videos of mass-murder terrorist attacks including those produced by Brenton Tarrant in Christchurch, New Zealand; and Anders Breivik in Norway, the court heard.

Ms Parsons said: “They are clips from live-streamed attacks and that is the point of them, that’s what makes them so dangerous, they are designed to aid copy-cat attacks.”

He also posted a promotional video for the proscribed, white supremacist, terrorist organisation, Atomwaffen Division, showing a man in a skull mask and combat gear shooting targets.

Reynolds showed no emotion as he was given an extended sentence made up of eight years in custody with a five-year period on licence.

The judge, Mrs Justice May, told him that she considered him as “dangerous” and added: “You intended to encourage terrorism, this was propaganda pure and simple.”

Of the terrorist documents kept by Reynolds, she added: “It is a startlingly extensive and concerning collection kept secret from your family and friends but showing how entrenched your interest in far right ideology had become.”

Amy Packham, defending, said that Reynold’s interest in the far right developed during the Covid-19 lockdown and added: “He would never have taken this action into real life, this was all online, behind the barrier of the internet, that is his stated evidence and the view of his family that there is no risk.”

A Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) spokesman said that Reynolds had “praised attacks by far-right terrorists”.

He added: “Reynolds created a note detailing a plan to attack a synagogue in Hove.

“Following a police search of his home, various devices were found which had been used to store or share material, including an iPhone and USB drives.

“He was also found to be the administrator of a Telegram channel which shared far right extremist, anti-Semitic and racist views, as well as manuals on bomb building and how to 3D print firearms.”

Nick Price, Head of the CPS Counter Terrorism and Special Crime Division, said: “Mason Reynolds sought to spread hate and encourage acts of terrorism.

“He not only held neo-Nazi beliefs but wanted to act on them to cause pain and suffering, which fortunately has been prevented and the public protected due to the work of the policing and prosecution team.”