White supremacist ‘planned murderous attack on gay pride pub event’

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A white supremacist with “a deep-seated hatred of black, Jewish, Muslim and especially gay people” was planning a “murderous attack” on a Pride event using a machete and an axe, a court has heard.

Ethan Stables, 20, was planning acts of terrorism against groups he hated, prosecutors told Leeds Crown Court.

In June last year, he had assembled a machete, knives, an axe, an air rifle and a ball bearing gun when he became “enraged” about a planned LGBT Pride event at the New Empire pub in his home town of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, a jury heard on Tuesday.

Jonathan Sandiford, prosecuting, said Stables was arrested as he was on his way to what the prosecution believe was a final reconnaissance visit to the pub before returning to his home for the machete, axe and other weapons.

Mr Sandiford said the defendant was stopped after he told members of a Facebook group about his plan for a “murderous attack on members of the LGBT community” and one member was so concerned she called the police and posted a warning on Twitter.

Police responded with an armed operation to protect the event in Barrow.

Mr Sandiford said Stables was a “white supremacist and Nazi – a supporter of Adolf Hitler, if you will”.

“He had a deep-seated hatred of black, Jewish, Muslim and especially gay people,” the prosecutor said.

“Between 2016 and his arrest in 2017 he was planning and preparing to commit acts of terrorism directed towards members of these groups but, primarily, directed towards people who were lesbian or gay.”

Mr Sandiford said Stables spent seven months researching firearms and explosives and had begun to acquire material to build an improvised explosive device.

He said: “His purpose in these acts of preparation was to launch a murderous attack on members of these communities. In particular, the prosecution suggest, people who were gay.”

The prosecutor told the jury of seven men and five women how Stables became “enraged” when he heard about the Pride event planned at the New Empire pub on June 23.

He said Stables began to take photographs of the pub “with a view to launching an attack later that evening.”

Stables, of Egerton Court, Barrow, denies one count of preparing terrorist acts and one of making threats to kill.

In a statement to the jury, Patrick Upward QC, defending, said his client was not a white supremacist but more a “white fantasist”.

Mr Upward agreed the material outlined by the prosecution was an “awful, disgusting, vile series of posts”.

But he said: “He never expected anyone to believe what he had to say.”

And Mr Upward said his client, who he said has a long history of dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome, has a favourite uncle who is openly gay and a best friend who is black.

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