Bomb Maker Guilty in London Plot
A British neo-Nazi who sought to emulate Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was convicted in July of plotting a racist terror campaign targeting Asians and Muslims with sophisticated homemade explosives.
Prosecutors established that Neil Lewington, 44, an unemployed electrician, operated a bomb factory in his bedroom, where police found nine pounds of weedkiller, pyrotechnic powders and dozens of fuses and igniters. They also seized a copy of the Waffen SS UK Members' Handbook, filled with schematics of electronic detonators and chemical weapons devices.
"This man, who had strong if not fanatical right-wing leanings and opinions, was on the cusp of embarking on a campaign of terrorism against those he considered non-British," stated prosecutor Brian Altman.
Police uncovered Lewington's plot in October 2008, after he was arrested for urinating in public and verbally abusing a conductor at a railway station in Suffolk. Officers searched a bag he was carrying and found digital clocks, batteries and wiring; two blocks of chemical fire starters, and instructions for making improvised incendiary devices.
A search of his residence turned up the bomb-making materials as well as videos of the terrorist attacks carried out by McVeigh and by David Copeland, who in April 1999 conducted a 13-day bombing campaign against London's black, Bangladeshi and gay communities.
Police also found extensive notes organized in sections titled "Picking Target Areas," "Transporting Devices," "Targeting/Attacking" and "Countersurveillance."
Lewington's defense attorney portrayed him as a rude but essentially harmless oddball — a "silly, immature, alcoholic, dysfunctional twit, fantasizing to make up for a rather sad life."
A jury nevertheless convicted Lewington of seven of the eight public endangerment and terrorism charges against him, and in September a judge sentenced him to an indefinite prison term of at least six years.
Speaking directly to Lewington at the sentencing, Judge Peter Thornton said: "You were in the process of embarking upon terrorist activity. You were going to use or threaten action involving either serious violence to people or serious damage to property. This action was designed to intimidate non-white people and it was for the purpose of pursuing the ideological cause of white supremacy and neofascism. … You would not have been troubled by the prospect of endangering somebody's life."