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British neo-Nazi teen on trial for plot to bomb East Sussex synagogue

Defendant Mason Reynolds, 19, claims that his detailed plan was “all talk.”

Courtroom. Credit: Christian Wasserfallen/Pexels.
Courtroom. Credit: Christian Wasserfallen/Pexels.

For the next three weeks, jurors at the Winchester Crown Court in England will listen to proceedings on whether a white supremacist’s notes constituted a fantasy to impress friends or an authentic terror plot to kill Jews and himself in a suicide bombing.

A trial began last week involving Mason Reynolds, a self-described neo-Nazi who faces charges for allegedly planning to blow up a synagogue in East Sussex. The 19-year-old, a student who lived with his parents, was arrested in June 2023.

On the encrypted messaging platform Telegram, Reynolds allegedly told fellow posters of neo-Nazi memes that he “had a plan” to further the movement’s goals of waging war on Jews, blamed for masterminding a conspiracy against white people.

Barrister Naomi Parsons, acting as prosecutor, said that Reynolds was in the courtroom not for his hateful ideology but “because he has been charged with a terrorism-related offense, and what that means, in practice, is that he’s not just held those political, racial and ideological views” but has acted on them.

Parsons pointed to a document in a notes application on Reynolds’s phone that included a plan to attack a synagogue, complete with video, images and text. It identified an entrance he intended to use and named which Jewish holidays draw the largest crowds to prayer.

Police described other documents found on Reynolds’ devices as a “vast amount” of neo-Nazi material with an emphasis on antisemitism. Law enforcement also found the “Mujahideen’s Explosives Handbook” and blueprints to manufacture 3D-printed guns.

Reynolds had accumulated such renown in his Telegram neo-Nazi community of some 350 subscribers that he had reportedly gained administration privileges in the chat group and became one of only two allowed to post content on a channel designated for racist propaganda.

The defense Reynolds has chosen to explain his actions is that he was allegedly only creating the scenario to satisfy friends who had accused him of being ‘‘all talk and no action.”

His attorney, Amy Packham, doubled down on that claim, calling the plan “in effect, all talk.”

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