| ||The trial of an ex-soldier and his accomplice, who were accused of attempting to blow up a mosque in Stoke on Trent, has concluded with both being sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. |
From the Daily Mail:
“An [sic.] soldier who tried to blow up a mosque has been jailed for ten years.
“Private Simon Beech was convicted of arson alongside Garreth Foster who was also given a 10-year sentence.
“Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard that the pair set fire to the mosque, in Regent Road in the Hanley area of the city, in a revenge attack after Muslim extremists burned poppies on Armistice Day.
“Beech, who was serving in the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment at the time of the attack, and 29-year-old Foster, of Stoke-on-Trent, both denied running a pipe into the building from a nearby gas meter in a bid to spark an explosion on December 3 last year.
“The blaze caused £50,000 damage.
“The Brigade managed to put out the fire and a policeman who discovered the pipe followed it to the property 163 yards next door.
“During the four-day trial, Beech, 23, told the court he had been a member of the English Defence League and the British National Party but insisted he was not a racist and said he did not believe his views to be extreme.”
The jury heard that, “before the fire Beech had written on a Facebook page: 'The time has come. They burn our poppies, we burn their place. Burn the lot of them out."
“Prosecutor Paul Spratt told the court:… 'One observation he plainly agreed with was 'Nuke All Mosques'."
The judge stated that, “'This was a profoundly disturbing case. A considerable amount of planning and forethought went into this arson.'"
The judge rejected the argument that the fire was lit to avenge Muslim extremists saying it was designed "to get at Muslims in general".
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