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Gwent Police/PA Wire
UK News

Far-right graffiti church vandal jailed for 6 years

by Press Association

Austin Ross, 23, stuck racist posters on buildings around his home town, as well as torching a school and a masonic lodge, causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

A court heard Ross was both a supporter of Tommy Robinson and far-right group System Resistance Network, and painted their initials SRN, as well as messages such as Free Tommy Robinson on buildings.

Between 2nd May and 31st May this year he spray painted Nazi symbols and stuck racist propaganda on to landmarks around his hometown of Newport, south Wales.

Prosecutor Jason Howells told Newport Crown Court that Ross first targeted the city's Riverfront Theatre by posting a "racially abusive poster" on a window pane.

Mr Howells said: "The poster was linked to the System Resistance Network, and there were swastikas spray painted next to it."

Ross went on to post racist posters on Bethel Community Church which read "Marxist maggots we remember faces, names places. SRN"

His next target was Newport's multicultural Maindee Primary School, where parents reported seeing racist posters outside it referring to refugees, and the message "You have been visited by the SRN".

Ross returned to the school four days later to spray paint several swastikas on its walls.

Crown Prosecution Service/PA Wire
Undated handout image made available by the Crown Prosecution Service of swastikas and the letters SRN (System Resistance Network) which were spray painted on a wall in Newport.

The slogan "1488" was painted by Ross on to the outside wall of Gwent Probation Services - with 14 being code for "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children" coined by white supremacist David Lane, and 88 being code for "Heil Hitler".

Ross also wrote "Free Tommy Robinson" along with graffiti of swastikas at the University of South Wales campus.

He then caused £38,000 worth of damage by causing a fire at Newport's Masonic Lodge, which had a Star of David on the front of the building, and another £20,000 worth of damage by starting another fire at Bassaleg Secondary School, of which he is an ex pupil.

Gwent Police released CCTV recordings to the public which caught Ross in the act of several of the incidents, which resulted in him being identified after an anonymous tip off.

Police raided his home and found stencils of swastikas, and posters which read "Keep Britain White" and "Hitler was right".

His Facebook account contained links to a Hitler Youth account.

Ross was arrested and later pleaded guilty to 15 counts including arson, racially aggravated harassment and racially aggravated damage.

Harry Baker, defending, said: "There's a different side to this young man.

"His family are concerned and upset for him."

Crown Prosecution Service/PA Wire
Undated handout image made available by the Crown Prosecution Service of a swastikas which were spray painted on a school sign in Newport, south Wales by Austin Ross

Judge Jeremy Jenkins told Ross: "Your actions were not born out of some mental disorder, but out of sheer hatred and malice, based on a perverse view of race and religion different to your own."

The judge added: "People like you have no idea what living under a tyrannical regime is really like."

Ross, from Romney Close, Bettws, Newport, showed no emotion as he was jailed for six years.

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