Teenager with ‘extreme right-wing mindset’ locked up over terror charges

·3-min read

A teenager with an “extreme right-wing mindset” has been detained for 30 months after he admitted possessing and accessing terrorist publications.

Mason Yates, 19, from Widnes, Cheshire, downloaded two documents from an electronic library shared among a chat group on the encrypted Telegram application.

Manchester Crown Court heard the two documents, 100 Deadly Skills and the White Resistance Manual, included instructions on how to prepare fireballs and explosive devices.

Yates was a college student in his home town at the time the offences were committed between November 2020 and January last year.

Sentencing, Judge Alan Conrad QC told him: “For some years you have held an extreme right-wing mindset expressing hatred towards a number of minorities, religious, ethnic and other groups.

“Posts by you have endorsed those who have committed atrocities in the name of such warped ideology.

“You were part of a group who exchanged such views. Those disturbing expressions of views were shared with others of like mind using an encrypted platform. It is a very dangerous thing to do. It serves to encourage others and it only needs one person to take it up for catastrophe to ensue.”

Judge Conrad concluded Yates retains his extremist mindset despite the defendant’s claims that his views have since “diluted”.

He noted that Yates attended a rally – which featured far-right activist Tommy Robinson – in Telford in January this year wearing a skull mask, just two months after he was charged with the terrorism offences.

Tommy Robinson
Tommy Robinson (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Yates also restored the White Resistance Manual to his phone within hours of the police returning the device to him following his arrest and after they had wiped all data from it, the court heard.

The judge said: “That defiance in my view constitutes a serious aggravating factor.”

Yates had been referred to the Government’s counter-terrorism programme Prevent when aged 13 and 16 but did not engage with the initiative, the court heard.

A support worker had reported him after a class discussion at college in which he was heard to say “I have not got just an issue with Muslims, it’s the whole of Islam”, “I have not been radicalised, I would be the one radicalising other people” and “I am as far-right as you can be”, the court heard.

Nicola Gatto, defending, said her client was not suggesting he had completely abandoned his views.

She said: “It is being advanced he is no longer as immersed in that world and has other interests. He now has full-time employment working as a scaffolder and he has a relationship.”

Manchester Crown Court
Manchester Crown Court (Dave Thompson/PA)

Yates had no friends at school and was bullied, she said. He lost his mother when he was aged 14 and was isolated within his own family, the court was told.

Miss Gatto went on: “He has spent long periods of time alone being exposed to very worrying views freely available on the internet. That exposure could have groomed him. Part of this offending took place during the pandemic when he was even more isolated.

“He is capable of change and he is capable of being deradicalised.”

The defendant disputed the Telford event was a rally and described it as a public screening of a documentary about “Muslim grooming gangs”, said Miss Gatto.

Yates, of Elstree Court, received concurrent sentences of 30 months detention in a young offenders institute for the two terrorism offences.

He received a further one-month concurrent term in custody for possession of an extreme pornographic image on his phone, namely a video of a man having sexual intercourse with a dog.

Yates pleaded guilty to all three offences at an earlier hearing.

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