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Merseyside white supremacist leader who aimed to start 'racial holy war' jailed for five years

James Costello, from Kirkby, plastered ‘Creativity Movement’ stickers around Liverpool to encourage people to visit his website calling for the establishment of a white master race. Photo: Getty/CPS
James Costello, from Kirkby, plastered ‘Creativity Movement’ stickers around Liverpool to encourage people to visit his website calling for the establishment of a white master race. Photo: Getty/CPS

A white supremacist leader who tried to start a 'holy racial war' has been jailed for five years.

James Costello, from Kirkby, plastered ‘Creativity Movement’ stickers around Liverpool to encourage people to visit his website calling for the establishment of a white master race.

Material on the website and found at his home was "dripping with hate", said a judge on Thursday (November 16), before jailing the defendant, known as the Reverend Connolly in the Church of the Creator, for five years.

38-year-old shaven-headed Costello, of Old Rough Lane, Northwood, Kirkby had been the leader of the Creativity Movement, not just in the UK but worldwide since 2017.

As part of the case, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) used evidence to show Costello's connection with other convicted terrorists, including National Action member Jack Renshaw, who was jailed for life in 2019 for planning to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper and who he had exchanged letters and postcards with.

A jury at Liverpool Crown Court convicted Costello of 19 offences involving stirring up racial hatred by possessing, publishing and distributing abusive and insulting material on or before September 24, 2021.

Convictions

According to the CPS, Costello was convicted of 20 offences in total:

  • 15 offences of Stirring up Racial Hatred by publishing material contrary to section 19(1) of the Public Order Act 1986,

  • Three offences of Stirring up Racial Hatred using a recording of sounds, contrary to section 21(1) of the Public Order Act 1986,

  • Three offence of Possessing Racially Inflammatory Material, contrary to section 23(1) of the Public Order Act 1986.

  • One offence of perverting the course of justice between 11 September 2021 and 1 November 2021.

Sentencing

Judge Andrew Menary, KC, the Recorder of Liverpool, said he had no doubt that stirring up racial hatred “was precisely [Costello's] intention.”

The judge said that while it was impossible to say how big the movement is “sadly recent events in London demonstrate that there is a worrying appetite for the sort of material you were making available.”

“This was a website unashamedly promoting White supremacy and neo-Nazi ideology. ‘Creativity’ and the newer incarnation the ‘Creativity Movement’ originated in the United States and has been in existence for a number of years since the early 1970s,” Judge Menary said.

He said Costello had edited the foundational texts written by the movement’s founder Ben Klassen and recorded audio books. “All designed to ensure that this racist messages was broadcast loud and clear. You were an enthusiastic evangelist for this material - every page of which was dripping with hate.”

He added: “The texts do not simply promote White supremacy, entirely gratuitously they contain outrageously offensive language that would shock and appall any right thinking person. By way of example only there are repeated references to Jews, n…..s and the mud races - the latter encompassing apparently anyone who is non-white.

“Jews and Judaism is repeatedly characterised as the most dangerous race and religion on the planet with people of colour - always referred to quite deliberately as n……s or the mud races as being subservient to everything else being closely related to apes who have not moved much beyond the jungle.

“The ultimate aim is the destruction of the Jewish race and all people of colour achieved by means of a racial holy war.”

Judge Menary said that one of the so called holy books available on the website was called RAHOWA meaning racial holy war and it spoke of “girding for total war against the Jews and the rest of the goddam mud races to the world - politically militantly, financially, morally and religiously.”

It continued by saying it was the heart of their religious creed and a racial holy war is the only solution. “No longer can the mud races and the White race live on the same planet and survive. It is now either them or us.”

Costello’s marketing aids included the stickers, flags, banners and pin  badges. The judge said that Costello might not have used violence or directly discriminated against his perceived enemies.

“But the mischief of these offences is not confined to causing deep offence. It is the racial hatred that is stirred up and the direct action that is taken by extremists as a consequence. The history of the Creativity Movement shows that its fanatics are capable of very serious and deadly violence," he said.

He added that Matt Hale, who Costello corresponded with, is now serving 40 years in the USA for soliciting the murder of a federal judge.

“I am not suggesting for one moment that you are deliberately encouraging or promoting anything like that but the world sadly is occupied also by people who will take your rallying cry and do bad things.”

The court heard in mitigation he now realises that the website material was abusive and might cause hurt, something he did not intend and regretted. “Frankly I doubt that very much. The highly racist and antisemetic nature of the material you wanted the world to see and embrace, so obviously appalling in its tone and content, was blindingly obvious," Judge Menary said.

The trial

During the trial Hal Watson, prosecuting, said that after the stickers - which said ‘proud to be white, contact like minded people creativitymovement.net - led to complaints to police who raided Costello’s home and investigated the website.

He said that reference to a racial holy war was “a call to arms”. Police also found in his bedroom a Creativity Alliance Ministerial certificate showing he is an ordained minister of the Church of Creativity and his duty was to spread the word and recruit people to the church.

Mr Watson said that the colours used on the materials, including a shield saying ‘Our race is our religion’ were red, white and black and were significant as they reflect Nazi imagery.

Dr Christopher Wood, defending, said that Costello works for his brother’s warehouse business as a delivery driver. He has no children but has been in a stable relationship for five years.

He left school at the age of 13 primarily due to his mother’s alcoholism and gambling addictions.  He began working for his dad and was exposed by others to extremist views which stayed with him.

He later joined the Army but went AWOL for five years because of a back injury and they had no concerns and it was only when he turned up at an airport to go to Tenerife that he was apprehended. He was punished with 300 hours community service.

Police reaction

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Milligan of Merseyside Police said: “I would like to thank members of the public for reporting this racist website to us so that we could launch a criminal investigation. I would also like to thank the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division for working with us on this investigation so we could achieve this result. “Our detectives worked hard to identify and seize the material whilst also identifying Costello as the main contributor to the site. “The racist and offensive material uncovered by our officers was deplorable and could have caused serious tensions, anguish and violence in our community.  “I hope this result show that online hate will not be tolerated and online offenders are not anonymous. Merseyside Police take all such reports seriously and we will continue to work hard to unmask and prosecute online offenders. This hate material will destroyed by our officers and anyone who creates it will be prosecuted and jailed for their crimes."